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Stingrays, injuries returning to SoCal shores

July 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Stingrays are swimming along Southland shorelines this time of year.When the water temperature goes up, more people visit the beaches, and the risk of stepping on a stingray increases.

"It's been great the last could of days, nice and clear and sunny," said Joe Bailey, chief of Seal Beach lifeguards. "When a lot of people come to the beach, we get more stingray injuries, especially when we have smaller surf like we do right now."

North of the Seal Beach pier and just south of the San Gabriel River is where most of the stingray injuries occur during the summer months.

In the last 30 days, Seal Beach lifeguards have treated 87 people for stings.

Ivo Hruza is sting victim 88.

"I thought I had just stepped on some crab or something or maybe some fish moving behind my feet, but then I got bitten," Hruza said.

To avoid being stung, remember this: when the temperature is high and the tide is low, that's when stingrays appear in shallow water, sometimes just ankle deep.

"We've been trying to get the word out," Bailey said. "Stingrays are at the beach, they're all over Southern California, so when you're entering the water you want to shuffle your feet. It's called the 'Stingray Shuffle,' to help you from getting stung."

Beachgoers are advised to use common sense, swim near a lifeguard station and if stung, lifeguards know what to do.

"The treatment is that you put your foot in hot water, the hot water neutralizes the poison and after a while everything should be back to normal," Hruza said.


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