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What to do if a spiderfish bites: how to recognize it and how to react

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What to do if a spiderfish bites: how to recognize it and how to react
A spider fish

Its sting is not as common as that of the jellyfish, but its consequences can be more serious: it causes such severe pain that you can lose consciousness

The spider fish, which is a relatively small fish (between 10 and 40 centimetres), lives semi-buried in sandy bottoms, and only reveals the eyes and the first of the two dorsal fins it has, made up of six or seven hard rays black in color connected to a venom gland. The spider fish toxin normally causes a burning sensation and intense pain that is calmed with hot water, although it can also cause dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness and even death from anaphylactic ‘shock’, which is what the first results of the Autopsy say about a recent death of a young man from Girona in Spain.

This fish has been causing havoc for more than a decade. The fishermen of these areas already know the species and, although they usually wear gloves, they have also had the occasional scare, although in their case they are minor injuries; however, “with the changing waters they are also a danger for bathers”.

How to recognize (and avoid) the sting

The spiderfish bite usually causes circular lesions of about two to three millimetres in diameter. The venom of this animal is glycoprotein and constrictive in nature, causing symptoms such as inflammation of the area, vomiting, pain, fever and even respiratory failure. In addition, the pain caused by this sting is extremely strong – the bather may lose consciousness due to the pain. Although it is less common than other bites, it is important to recognize and treat it as soon as possible.

It is advisable to wear sandal-type footwear to protect the sole of the foot from the bite. “Unlike the rest of bites,” recommend Experts and “you have to apply heat to the affected area, since it is a thermolabile poison — that is, its action is reduced by heat and to treat it, the foot should be immersed in hot water without burning it, for at least half an hour. In these cases, it is important to receive medical attention as soon as possible since the consequences can be serious”.