How to protect against vive fish stings this summer

The vive fish will bite if threatened

If you have any seaside bathing planned this summer, watch out for the venomous 'weaver' or 'weever' fish (known as ‘vive’ fish in French).

Often found in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Black Sea, these small, sand-coloured fish - from 15 to 50cm long - will sting humans if they feel threatened, such as a human accidentally stepping on them in the sand, or disturbing them too much in the water.

The sting - and the venom it delivers - are not fatal or especially dangerous (unless the victim has an allergic reaction) but it will cause intense pain and a burning sensation, and if left untreated, can spread and hurt for up to a week.

A string can also cause inflammation, itching, and infection.

There are a number of things you can do to help avoid getting stung, and help yourself or your family if you are unlucky.

  • Check whether your beach is a risk area, and if it is, make sure you tread carefully, slowly and calmly when in the sea, to avoid scaring the fish or stepping on one
  • If someone does get stung, get them out of the water immediately, and apply heat to the wound - NOT ice, as heat dissipates the venom
  • You can use hot sand, hot water over 40 degrees, or even the end of a cigarette, to apply heat and stop the venom spreading
  • Keep the affected area or limb elevated, if you can
  • Do not suck on the sting to try to remove the venom, or cut it in any way
  • Once treated, get medical help or keep the wound clean and covered until healed, to avoid infection
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