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Stonefish sting

Definition

This article describes the health effects that occur due to the venom of a sting from a stonefish. It does not discuss allergic reactions.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Stonefish venom

Where Found

  • Stonefish
  • Related species

Symptoms

  • Airways and lungs
    • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart and blood
    • Collapse
  • Skin
    • Bleeding
    • Severe pain at the site of the sting
    • Whitened color of the area around the site of the sting
    • Color of the area changes as the amount of oxygen supplying the area decreases
  • Stomach and intestines
    • Abdominal pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
  • Nervous system
    • Delirium
    • Fainting
    • Fever (from infection)
    • Headache
    • Muscle twitching
    • Seizures
    • Paralysis

Home Treatment

Wash the area with fresh water. Remove any foreign material at the wound site. Contact an emergency room. Soak wound in the hottest water the patient can tolerate for 30 - 90 minutes, if instructed to do so.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of fish
  • Time of the sting
  • Location of the sting

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to expect at the emergency room

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The wound and symptoms will be treated as appropriate. Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Washing of the skin (irrigation)
  • Removal of any foreign material
  • Soaking of the wound
  • Medications to treat symptoms
  • Medicine (antiserum) to reverse the effect of the venom

The patient may receive:

  • Breathing support
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)

Expectations (prognosis)

Recovery usually takes about 24 - 48 hours. Death has occurred when the patient's chest or abdomen was punctured.

References

Isbister GK, Caldicott DG. Trauma and evenomations from marine fauna. In: Tintinalli JE, Kelen GD, Stapczynski JS, Ma OJ, Cline DM, eds. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004:chap 196.


Review Date: 12/15/2011
Reviewed By: Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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