Weaver fish stings

This is a small fish (about 15 cm long). It has venomous spines along its dorsal fin.

It is quite commonly found around the British Isles in warm weather. It may hide under the sand at low tide.

The weaver fish sting can be extremely painful. Death is extremely rare, although respiratory failure and gangrene have been reported following infection.

The affected limb or wound should be immersed in water as hot as can be tolerated comfortably for 15 minutes Ė some cafes in Cornwall and other surfing areas keep a bucket for this purpose.

If this isnít possible, cover the wound with hot flannels which should be changed repeatedly. The venom is inactivated by heat and the intense pain should subside within a few minutes of treatment.

Simple painkillers such as paracetamol will also help to relieve the pain, antihistamines may also be helpful

Further information

This article published on
01 January 2001

Next review date 10/1/2013


First aid
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