HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Swimmers at Orange County beaches are being warned to take extra precautions after a dramatic increase in injuries caused by stingrays.
More than 900 stingray injuries were reported at Bolsa Chica State Beach between July and August, up sharply from 322 reported injuries during the same period in 2012, according to the Orange County Register.
In the month of August alone, the number of reported injuries spiked to 450, roughly five times as high as the 91 injuries reported last year.
Signs have been put up along the three-mile stretch from Sunset Beach to Seapoint Avenue warning swimmers of the flat-bodied fish that typically spends the majority of its time buried in sand.
Reports of stingray injuries have not only gone up at Bolsa Chica, but also at Seal Beach, where reports steadily climbed over the last 15 years to as high as 519 in 2011, according to the Register.
Surfer Mike Predeville was one of at least five people who reported being stung by a stingray along the shoreline of Huntington Beach in the course of one hour on Friday.
“It feels like the worst toothache you’ve ever had, except it’s in my foot,” said Predeville.
Stingray injuries often result in local trauma, swelling, and muscle cramps, and typically take about one week to heal. Fatal stings are extremely rare.