Here’s a great list of recommendations for dealing with a lionfish sting. As the invasive species continues to flourish in the Caribbean, diver’s are finding themselves running in to these guys a bunch. While we’re supposed to wipe them out (since they’re invasive), they are mesmerizing to look at and photograph. Typically, they’re well behaved and most cases of stings have completely understandable defensive reasoning by the lionfish. In other words, either people are being careless or hunting the lionfish. Either way, this quick read will give you some guidance to deal with it should you find yourself faced with the problem.
Lionfish Sting Guidelines
- Remain calm. Notify your dive buddy and immediately terminate your dive.
- Moment of lionfish sting, a diver can immediately start trying to squeeze or “milk”the venom out of stung area. This has helped other divers lessen the amount or distance of the venom spread. The diver can do this while signaling the other divers and while ascending.
- Ascend slowly, observing all decompression stops, and surface as soon as possible.
- Remove any foreign material such as lionfish spines. Add pressure to the wound to try and squeeze out the venom. Rinse the wound with clean water.
- Soak wound (30 minutes) in heated, non-scalding, water as soon as possible. The lionfish venom is protein based and is neutralized by the hot water thus preventingthe protein from moving into the blood stream. The hot water is quite effective for controlling the pain.
- Call 911 as soon as possible. The operators have all been instructed and are familiar with medical protocol for lionfish stings. They will immediately initiate preliminary assessment and treatment.
- If not close to medical care, one could take BENADRYL (Antihistamine) and IBUPROFEN (Motrin or Advil). (Anti inflammatory). Medication will not only reduce the pain but more importantly reduce the swelling that can pressure the arteries, veins, and lymph ducts shut cutting off the bodies vital healing process to the area of the sting. The more swelling that occurs, the greater the wound and skin in the area suffers, turning grey as the swelling persists. The immediate care can dramatically reduce the damage to the affected area after a lionfish sting.
- Monitor vitals, circulation, airway, and breathing. Lionfish victims commonly go into shock.
- Your 911 operator will direct you to the appropriate medical facility. Get there as soon as possible.
- No lion fish envenomation should ever be underestimated. Pain can be significant and secondarycomplications much more so. Get them treated to avoid any complications.
- Additional information for your injury can be accessed by calling:DAN Emergency Hotline (+1-919-684-9111) orNon Emergency (+1-919-684-2948)
The injuries can be serious, and if there is hand involvement, special medical attention may be required.
Learn more about lionfish envenomation and see more photos at:11 Recommendations for Treating a Lionfish Sting | Cayman Islands Diving | iDive Blog