Hundreds of Orange County beachgoers stung by stingrays over Labor Day Weekend

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- California State Parks lifeguards said Bolsa Chica and Huntington state beaches saw nearly 300 stingray cases over Labor Day weekend.

Shaylin Weaver has been coming to Bolsa Chica State Beach since she was a toddler and surfed here often.

"I've been coming here ever since I can remember, so like when I started walking, pretty much," Weaver said.

Josh Raymond, a California State Parks lifeguard, said this is the stingrays' natural habitat.

"Its a safe zone for these stingrays and its a breeding ground. We have the natural preserve back behind us," Raymond explained.

A closer look at Bolsa Chica alone this year showed 230 stings over Labor Day weekend. That was nearly three times more when compared to the same time last year when there were 84 stings reported according to a State Parks spokesperson.

Lifeguards said one reason was increasing water temperatures.

"The warm water brings stingrays in, but ultimately the more people you have, the more possibility and more actual stings that you will have," Raymond said.

Weaver has been stung four times and said it hurt.

"There's been times where I've almost passed out," Weaver said.

If you get stung, lifeguards can help or you can care for a sting on your own.

Raymond suggested soaking in hot water for 30 minutes to an hour and treating it like any other, but a visit to the doctor is a must if you see signs of an infection.

To avoid getting stung in the first place, Weaver and lifeguards suggested the shuffle.

"As soon as you hit the water start shuffling. Act like your feet are glued to the ground," Weaver said.

Lifeguards explained it is important to slide your feet at all times while in the water to warn the animals you're coming.

"They're not swimming around looking to sting people, per say. It's just where they live and that's where they are and if you step on one, they're gonna kind of lash back and say, Hey get out of here,'" Raymond said.

Just south of Bolsa Chica at Huntington City Beach, a lieutenant with the Marine Safety Division said they saw 125 stingray cases over the three day weekend, but said the daily numbers weren't record-breaking.
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