When you are at the beach, experts say six inches of water can often be more dangerous than six feet, especially when a stingray is lurking nearby.
Lately, doctors in the emergency room at Bay Area Medical Center say they have been treating lots of beachgoers who have been stung by stingrays.
"It could be due to an increase in the number of actual stingrays out in the surf," emergency physician Dr. Rafael Garcia said. "Breeding season can sometimes cause that. Or it could be just the number of people visiting the beach."
It was back in 2006 that the world-famous crocodile expert Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray while snorkeling off the Great Barrier Reef. A barb struck him in the chest and pierced his heart. Experts said that was a freak occurrence.
But the danger of getting a barb in your foot or leg is very real along the Texas coast, particularly in the warm-water months; and doctors say it can be very painful.
"In some cases, the barb will break off and you'll have a fragment of the stingray barb in your skin," Garcia said. "In most cases, the barb doesn't break off. It comes out, but they have envenomated you with a toxin that causes lots and lots of pain. It can cause infection, but the main problem immediately is the pain."
One thing to remember if you're going to the beach: Instead of walking normally into the surf, experts recommend shuffling your feet a bit to avoid stepping on a stingray.
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