Venice Beach Sting

Stingray Sting. Photo courtesy Todd Silverman.

by Melanie Camp.

Todd Silverstein has never been stung by a bee, but a stingray got him good at Venice Beach down by the Breakwater on Saturday, July 8.

Venice Beach Lifeguards have special bags for hot water to treat stings. Photo courtesy Todd Silverman.

“It felt like I stepped on a box cutter, and being a  marine biology major I knew right away; Stingray. I got myself to a lifeguard, and they gave me a bag full of hot water that helped a lot. The pain is the throbbing of a sledgehammer. The hot water breaks up the toxin making the pain go away quicker,” Silverstein told Yo! Venice.

Soaking a sting in hot water eases the pain. Photo courtesy Todd Silverman.

Stingrays prefer warmer water. Los Angeles County Fire Department Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Lidia Barillas explained to Yo! Venice, “during the summer months we have more stingray calls due to the relatively warmer water, and more beach patrons in the water.” And while Barillas she didn’t have any information on trends or records word on the beach is the temps are up. Typically the water temperature can vary from 63 F to 70 F. “Yes it is on the warmer side these days,” Barillas said.

Silverstein, who used to live in Venice, knew he should have done the Stingray Shuffle – a move where you slide your feet along the sandy sea floor to avoid treading on Stingrays. Instead, he jumped while body boarding into a big wave and landed right on the stingray. “Poor little fella, it was just scared of being crushed by me,” he said. Silverstein’s wife Kelli is a science teacher. “She literally had to use her ‘teacher voice’ to get me to calm down when I was initially stung in the water and start heading to shore,” he said.

To avoid the trauma, Barillas agreed it is best to shuffle into the water as opposed to stepping in, “people tend to step on them, and that’s when they get hurt.” Shuffling also causes turbulence, and this scares away the stingrays.

Barillas said after a sting, it is important to go to your family doctor or visit urgent care as “sometimes the barb gets stuck,” and it is not always easy to find.