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Do The Stingray Shuffle: Avoiding Painful Injuries At Central And South Coast Beaches

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Photo by Karen Kayser on Unsplash
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Watch out for stingrays this summer

If you’re thinking of heading to the beach to cool off in the warm weather, then make sure you don’t get a painful surprise from a stingray, warn doctors in Santa Barbara.

We’ve all been there – excited to see the ocean on a hot day and running straight in.

But doctors in Santa Barbara say they see about 10-12 injuries a week at this time of year, from stingrays who hide just under the sand in shallow warm water.

The toxin is incredibly painful, says Dr Brett Wilson, an emergency room physician at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, who treats stingray injuries.

He says that the best thing to do to avoid an injury, is to shuffle cautiously into the shallow waters, instead of surprising the stingrays, so they aren't alarmed and defensive.

"You talk to the biggest grown man and they are usually howling in pain because of the burning effect of the toxin," he warned.

"As excited as you are to run in and cool off, it's better to shuffle your feet as you enter the surf line," says Wilson.

If you suffer a sting, it is recommended to soak the injured area in warm water for 60-90 minutes and to get medical attention right away.