As if recent shark sightings aren't enough to keep people out of the water, now dozens of people have been attacked by stingrays in Southern California.
Lifeguards are warning people to be extra careful when they go into the water after 41 people were stung yesterday alone. At least one person was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The attacks happened mainly in the La Jolla Shores area of San Diego County, the same area where a Great White Shark sighting resulted in a swimming ban just a few weeks ago.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports a makeshift triage area was set up to treat the injured by soaking the wounds in buckets of hot water to break up the toxin and alleviate the pain.
Marc Montini, a vacationer from Pheonix told Fox10 News, "When I got about knee deep it hit me and it went through my flipper into the inside of my foot, and immediately I knew what happened. It bled a lot and I put my foot in a tub and turned the water on as hot as I could handle it." He says hours later, the pain went away.
Jan Piland from the Pheonix Zoo's Stingray Bay tells Fox10 News, the bottom dwellers are actually gentle creatures but are just trying to defend themselves. "People are in there, they step on the ray, the ray arches their back, their tail to swim away." "They're not an aggressive animal. They don't go wielding their barb like swords."
So what can you do to protect yourself? Lifeguards suggest you do the "stingray shuffle" by shuffling your feet as you wade through the shallow water rather than lifting your feet. That way not only will you warn them that you are coming but it will also prevent you from stepping on their barbs directly.
La Jolla Shores Lifeguards have a Stingray Station they set up every summer to deal with the problem and they've put together a video and posted it on YouTube.