DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Stingrays stung two people who were standing in shallow water at Daytona Beach on Sunday, according to Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.
Beach Patrol said a 50-year-old man from South Carolina and a 24-year-old woman from Maryland were both in the water and seemingly stung within 30 minutes of each other.
While the man was in the water, he said a wave crashed and soon after he felt instant pain on his left foot, officials said. The woman was in the water about two miles away when she reportedly stepped on a stingray. A partial barb was still in place on the bottom of her foot when crews arrived.
Both told first responders that they did not see anything before being stung.
"It’s not too often, so a little unusual that it happened within 30 minutes of each other," said Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue Deputy Chief Tammy Malphurs.
"The most important and basic thing to remember is make sure you’re swimming in front of those staffed lifeguard towers. You talk to that tower, find out what to do to be safe for the day. They can advise you if there are any warnings with hazardous marine life in the water," she said.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, stingrays are generally found near shore on grass and sand/mud flats.
Chad Macfie, manager at Volusia County Marine Science Center, said stingray stings are very, very painful.
"One of the ways that you can break down that venom to make it less painful is to put as hot of water as you can on to the wound," he said.
Another thing to keep in mind to avoid a stingray is to do the so-called "stingray shuffle": "rub your feet when you walk through the sand to kind of, instead of taking steps, to kind of push your feet through the sand and that will scare the sting rays before you step directly on them."
WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE PIERCED BY A STINGRAY
Officials said it's important to wash and disinfect the wound immediately to avoid an infection. If there are any retained spines in the wound, if the puncture is deep, or if it involves the chest, abdomen, or neck, authorities said treatment at a hospital is necessary.
Both the man and woman injured in Volusia County were taken to Halifax hospital for treatment. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.
"Their venom causes intense pain, but the main risk of a stingray injury is the puncture wound," according to the National Capital Poison Center.
Authorities said the best way to treat pain after being pierced is with hot water immersion.