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15th Jun 2021

7-year-old left screaming in pain “for an hour” after venomous fish sting

Laura Grainger

A sting from the species can cause “excruciating” pain.

A seven-year-old girl was left screaming in pain for “about an hour” after being stung by a weever fish at a beach in the UK.

Darcy-Rae Kellaway, from Hull, had been enjoying a swim in the sea at Hornsea beach on Sunday when she suddenly ran from the water screaming crying.

“She was just on the beach, in and out of the water, paddling like kids do,” mum Michelle Kellaway told Hull Live. “She suddenly came running out of the water in complete shock, saying that something had ‘got her’. I just went into a panic thinking, oh my God, what can it be? Is it a jellyfish?”

The panicked parents then carried her to a leisure centre for first aid, where the manager told them she had been stung by a weever fish due to the puffy appearance of her foot and visible marks from the spine holes.

“She screamed for about an hour, it looked so painful. Her skin went all white like it does with a wasp or bee sting.”

Weever fish are common all around the Irish coast. Earlier this month, we reported that the National Poisons Information Centre warned Irish beach goers to be wary of the sandy-coloured fish and the pain they can bring.

They’re usually found in the sand of warm, shallow waters when the tide is low with just their venomous black dorsal fin showing above the sandy bottom. Irish Water Safety says the pain can be “excruciating” as the fish spines “embed into the human flesh and discharge their poison.”

The organisation recommends people avoid swimming approximately one to two hours either side of low tide to reduce the risk of stepping on them. Beachgoers should also wear flip flops or sandals when walking close to low water.

“The pain is at its most intense for the first two hours when the foot normally goes red and swells up, and then it may feel numb until the following day with irritation and pain that may last for up to two weeks,” a statement from Irish Water Safety reads. “Sometimes, the spine breaks off in the foot and it will cause discomfort until it is removed.”

Though the sting can be extremely painful, it won’t cause permanent damage. However, it can cause anaphylactic shock or allergic reaction to those who are vulnerable, so it’s important to keep little feet covered up during beach trips this summer.