Fish bites and stings can be very painful to humans. These fish and many other marine animals can cause cuts, scrapes and punctures to human skin. Many of these fish use this as a sort of defense mechanism to protect themselves from potential predators, while others use their teeth to catch food for them. If one is bitten or stung, it is very helpful to try and identify the specie of the fish in order to administer proper medication and treatment immediately. The time the injury occurred and the nature of the attack should also be noted.
Medical attention should be given to all types of fish bites and stings as soon as possible as they are highly dangerous. Oftentimes, infections occur due to ocean bacteria. Infection usually occurs in more or less 24 hours.
Most Painful Fish Bites and Stings
Although there are many fish species that can cause bites and stings, there are a few species that are particularly very painful.
- Stone-fish (Genus: Synanceia)
- Rock or coral in appearance
- Most venomous fish in the world and most painful sting among fish
- Often fatal stings and causes human deaths annually
- Usually injects venom when disturbed
- Needle-like dorsal fins sticks up when disturbed or threatened
- Lion-fish (Genus: Pterois)
- Colorful and attractive
- Painful and potentially dangerous stings from spines
- Needle-like dorsal fins ticks up when disturbed or threatened
- Puffer fish
- Also called puffer fish
- Beach ball-like appearance
- Contains toxin called tetrodoxin that are dangerous to many fish an humans
- Scorpion fish
- Live on the seafloor
- Venomous spines
- Caribbean Fire Coral
- Tiny barbs causing painful burning sensation
- Stargazer fish
- Delivers electric shock to its victims
- Striped Eel Catfish
- Found in coral reefs
- Very painful stings
- Venomous dorsal and pectoral fins
Symptoms of Fish Bites and Stings
There are many characteristics of fish bites and stings. Aside from the obvious cut, scrape or puncture, other symptoms are associated with fish bites and stings.
- Redness and pain
- Muscle cramps
- Sweating and fever
- Stone-fish stings
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe pain and whitened color of the area
- Abdominal pain and diarrhea
- Nausea and vomiting
- Convulsions and paralysis
- Signs of infection
- Oozing, foul-odor pus
- Red streaks originating from wound
- Swelling of lymph nodes
- Pain associated with joint movement
Treatment for Fish Bites and Stings
First aid must be given immediately to alleviate pain and avoid infection. The following steps are not to be substituted for medical advice or actual first aid training. First aid training is taught by many institutions which can be applied to many different medical situations.
- Remove the injured person from the water immediately.
- If stinger is still present, remove from the body, preferably using gloves.
- Immerse the affected area in hot water. The unaffected area may be first placed in the hot water to avoid burning the body,
- Do not bandage or attempt to restrict movement of toxin.
- Ensure that the person gets tetanus immunization booster if one hasn’t gotten one within the last five years.
Immediately seek medical treatment for any type of fish bites and stings to be given antivenin.