Navigate Up

Full Library - A-Z Index


Print This Page

Stonefish sting

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.

Updated: 12/15/2011

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.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com