March 6, 2021

Southern California authorities alert to increased sting rays

With the arrival of summer, the beaches of San Diego in the USA they register a greater affluence of residents and tourists, but also of stripes and with them the risks of suffering a sting, as they warn the local authorities.

Mónica Muñoz, spokeswoman for the Department of Rescue and Firefighters of San Diego, Southern California, told Efe on Saturday that only last Sunday, June 30, prior to the weekend of July 4, 30 people suffered sting rays.

These animals prefer to keep generally in cold regions of the water and of greater depth, but Muñoz explained that the plankton with which they feed is concentrated in low tides and in areas of higher temperatures, so it is common that these animals approach the shore of the beaches.

"The more people there are in the water, the more likely they are of bites," he said.

This weekend, long for the festive of July 4, is one of the times of the year of greatest influx on local beaches and every day almost triples the number of visitors on a regular day, according to statistics from the Department of Rescue and Firefighters of San Diego County.

Last Thursday alone, 366,000 people visited the beaches of Mission Beach, La Jolla and Pacific Beach, a number that will almost repeat itself on each day of this weekend, and hence the local authorities have provided about 300 lifeguards.

That same Thursday, medical attention was given for minor injuries to 116 people, some of them due to stripes.

Muñoz emphasized that bathers should not fear these animals since they do not attack humans, unless they do so as a defense mechanism when they come into contact with them.

"It is common for people, and all children, to run into the water and then, if they step on a line, it stings and then escapes," said the official, who suggests shaking the sea on the shore to see if any line is navigating flush with the bottom.

"The only and best treatment is to submerge the area where the bite occurred, usually feet or legs, in water as hot as is tolerable, which prevents the poison from reaching the bloodstream," said Muñoz.

The spokeswoman said that the poison is not lethal, but it does cause great pain and the person suffering the sting should apply the treatment for at least 30 minutes to prevent the discomfort from persisting. Only in the case of children under two years or older adults, it is recommended to go to a hospital.

Also on other beaches such as Imperial Beach and Coronado, in the south of the county, there have been more cases of sting rays. In June, the Coronado Lifeguard Department reported up to 15 cases in a single day.

In all of them it is not uncommon to see lifeguards with buckets of water, ready to help in case of a sting ray.

Rita Vázquez went to one of these beaches with her two grandchildren of 7 and 11 years old to enjoy the weekend of July 4th on the beach. After applying sunscreen and insisting that they wear hats, accompany them to the water's edge.

"I've never seen one, but I'm afraid of being stung, so I better accompany you," the woman says.

. (tagsToTranslate) authorities (t) California (t) alert (t) increase (t) bites

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