Stingray stings on the rise at Tybee Island

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Lifeguards and beachgoers are on high alert a recent influx of stingray stings on Tybee Island.

More than twenty people have been stung this week, which is a surprise for those on Tybee.

In a normal season, lifeguards say they usually have about five stings during the summer season, from April until the end of September.

This was also a shocker for Justin Sager, who was visiting with his family from Chattanooga and was stung while in the water.

“I was standing in 8 inches of water maybe and I felt an extreme pain lighting fast and you know, I said a curse word or two,” Sager said. “I got out of the water and people immediately walked up to me and said that’s a stingray you need to get that checked out.”

Tybee Ocean Rescue arrived to treat the sting that left Sager with a bloody foot and a slight limp.

The rescue team immediately took him to the station to treat the wound by putting his foot in hot water to keep it from getting infected and to prevent the pain from spreading.

“It is just now going up my leg, it has taken 15 or 20 minutes,” Sager said.

According to Technical Advisor at the Tybee Ocean Rescue, Todd Horne, “if someone gets stung by a stingray they’re likely going to feel pain in the leg it’s going to radiate up through their leg further toward their waist.  And again advise them to seek medical help as soon as possible.”

Stingrays tend to hide under the sand, so beachgoers can easily step on them without seeing them.

“With as warm as the weather has been lately it’s starting to warm the water up, I believe they are beginning to migrate further towards the shore than they have in the past,” Horne said.

Lifeguards are doing their best to ensure they keep all beachgoers safe.

“We’re patrolling the beach in areas that we may not normally patrol. And in those areas we have come upon, patients that have been stung, we get them back up to our lifeguard building, and get them in hot water,” Horne said.

To avoid a sting, use caution while on the beach. Lifeguards suggest shuffling your feet to make sure there aren’t any stingrays near you.

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911.

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