Stings from lionfish can be serious, and should not be taken lightly. Any broken spines should be removed, if possible, and the affected area soaked in non-scalding hot water (100-110 degrees F. or 38-43 degrees C.) for 15-20 minutes. Lionfish venom contains proteins that are denatured by heat, thus, preventing them from spreading in the bloodstream.
If hot water is not available, aspirin, or aspirin with codeine can be taken. (Do not use hot water and aspirin together.) Because possible adverse reactions or secondary infections can occur from lionfish stings, a medical professional should be seen as soon as possible.
Due to the presence of lionfish in deeper offshore waters, envenomations may occur far from land during diving or fishing operations. These situations present a special circumstance that require some advance planning, because medical attention cannot, necessarily, be obtained immediately. Therefore, the presence of a hot pack on board is helpful and can then be utilized if hot water is not readily available. In addition, it is recommended that you call the Aquatic Toxins Hotline at the Florida Poison Information Center in Miami, where medical experts will advise you about the treatment, including in Spanish. This Hotline is available 24/7, and the number is 888-232-8635. A high definition medical treatment video was created and produced by EISF and is available for distribution on DVD and HDCAM to medical providers.
(This medical advice was approved by the Florida Poison Information Center – Miami)