I got stung by a stingray while at the take out at Picnic Point in Tampa Bay.I was wearing sandals, but the ray's tail sliced me between the foot-bed and heel straps. It felt at first like a supercharged bee sting, but as the toxin slowly worked itself out of my calloused heel and into my bloodstream, the pain became excruciating and disabling. I was crying like a baby and cursing every red light that delayed me as I drove to the nearest urgent care clinic.
A long soak in hot water (113°F is ideal) neutralized the effects of the toxin, and ibuprofen reduced inflammation. I was amazed how quickly the pain melted away with this simple treatment.Antibiotics were prescribed to prevent infection.
From now on, my first aid kit will include a few reusable chemical heating packs. Applied to a ray wound with an ace bandage, a hot pack should provide pain relief. I’d hate to be caught out on a paddle with that debilitating pain.
Rays bury themselves in the sand so are difficult to spot. Remember to do the stingray shuffle, and before you land your feet getting out of your kayak, poke around with your paddle to scare them off.