SUNSEEKERS are being urged to avoid getting stung as they flock to the beach.
A young boy got a nasty sting from a weever fish when he enjoyed an evening at Seaham beach with his dad and brother on Monday.
Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman for the Sunderland RNLI, said the fish can give people a very nasty sting, and is advising anyone who falls victim to it to seek medical attention straight away.
He said: “We were called out because someone thought a jet ski had broken down, but when we got there, the dad and two boys were just fishing.
“He asked us to have a look at one of the boys’ hands, because he had caught a weever fish and been stung. It was really starting to swell up. There wasn’t much we could do there, but told the dad to go to the walk-in medical centre to have it looked at.”
Paul said it is usually on the beach and shoreline that people get stung, because the fish buries itself in the sand.
He said: “With the hot weather attracting people to the beach, it is something to be aware of.
“It is difficult to tell people to avoid them because they are buried, but if someone does get stung, they should seek immediate treatment because it can act very quickly and be very painful.”
The weever fish has sharp spines laced with venom along its dorsal fin, which stick up out of the sand, where it hides, and inflicts agony on any unsuspecting bathers unlucky enough to tread on one.
The nerve poison injected into victims brings excruciating pain lasting several hours, causing people’s limbs to swell and in extreme cases, can lead to temporary paralysis.
The irritation can last for two weeks.
Recommended treatment is to bathe the victim’s affected limb in water as hot as they can possibly tolerate, without scalding them, because the poison is a type of protein which breaks down in temperatures above 40°C.