What is Scorpionfish Sting?
The scorpionfish is a venomous fish that blends well amongst the coral reefs. The fish is covered in prickly spines that carry highly toxic venom. Scorpionfish do not attack humans, but can inflict painful stings with the release of potent venom, when they are handled.
What are the Causes of Scorpionfish Sting?
Most common causes of Scorpionfish Stings include (but are not limited to):
- Exposure to scorpionfish in the deep ocean; generally sea divers are at risk
- Handling scorpionfish, either alive or dead
- Keeping them as pets or exhibits in aquaria
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Scorpionfish Sting?
Signs and symptoms of Scorpionfish Stings vary according to the type of species the individual is exposed to and the amount of toxin injected. The symptoms may be mild or severe and could include:
- Severe stinging pain lasting for several hours
- Rashes on the skin (red-colored welts), bruising
- Swelling of the wound
- Blister formation
- Abnormal heart rate, reduced blood pressure
- Allergic shock or reaction, in some cases
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
- Muscle cramps, abdominal cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Severe fatigue
How is First Aid administered for Scorpionfish Sting?
If a Scorpionfish Sting (or sting or bite of a marine creature) is suspected, it is always important to call your local emergency helpline number (or 911 in the US) without any delay, and provide as much information as possible, even if the individual does not have any symptoms.
Until medical help arrives:
- Move the individual away from the water or incident spot
- Make a note of the exact time of the incident and notify the emergency medical personnel accordingly
- Try to remove the stinger (if visible), by gently scraping the site using a hard-edged object (either metal or plastic) or a pair of tweezers
- Use hot water to inactivate any remaining toxin
- Use pressure to arrest bleeding (if possible)
- Try to identify or locate the marine animal (only if safely possible) and keep the medical personnel informed
- DO NOT give anything orally to the individual
- Unless directed by the physician, DO NOT give any medication
Who should administer First Aid for Scorpionfish Sting?
The individual himself/herself or someone nearby may begin to administer First Aid. Call your local emergency helpline number or 911 immediately as mentioned before.
What is the Prognosis of Scorpionfish Sting?
The prognosis of Scorpionfish Sting is dependent on the potency of the toxin, the severity of reaction, and timely manner in which treatment is administered.
How can Scorpionfish Sting be Prevented?
A few helpful tips to prevent Scorpionfish Sting include:
- Avoid making an attempt to touch or handle marine animals unnecessarily, even if they are pets
- Do not ignore warnings of lifeguards or health officials at the beach
- Wear protective clothing if you plan to swim or dive in infested areas
- Generally be aware or watchful of the waters you are in (to the extent possible)
- Wear protective footwear while walking on beach sand
- Do not handle dead scorpionfish, since they can also sting
What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?
- Call your local emergency helpline number (or 911) for help
- Remove the victim immediately from the water
- Wear gloves while removing stingers
- When in doubt, wash the affected area with seawater and not freshwater
- If possible, use hot water to repeatedly wash the wound
- Do not hesitate to call your emergency help services
- Do not remove stingers without wearing suitable protective hand gloves
- Do not medicate the individual, unless advised by a healthcare professional
- Do not move the affected region of the body too much
- Do not run or exercise which might increase the circulation of toxin in the body
- Do not elevate the affected area above the heart level, since this can also increase circulation of the toxin