Weeder, also known as spider fish, belong to the family Trachinidae, species found mainly in European seas. They are found in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and European coastal areas.
Weepers live exclusively in the sea, in particular on sandy and / or muddy bottoms, usually within 30 meters of depth, even if they have been reported at greater depths, up to 150 meters. On the bottom of the sea, the weeps are perfectly camouflaged and it is very difficult to identify them from the surface, even in shallow waters. The danger hides in the backbones (5 to 7) of the fish which are robust and poisonous; in resting conditions they are lowered, but are erected as soon as the weever feels disturbed (for example by the "approaching of swimmers) or when hunting the preys. The dorsal spines are connected to a spongy tissue that produces poison.
The poison is still little known, but it contains a mixture of several toxic substances of a protein nature and, among these, the best known is the dracotoxin, a very unstable molecule that would have a haemolytic action (it destroys blood cells) and is sensitive to temperature. There are also other substances such as serotonin and histamine, which contribute to the reaction to the sting but also cause general reactions such as the sense of panic that occurs in people immediately after being stung.
In most cases, people are pricked by weeder on their hands and feet. The pain is instantaneous, it can last several hours and extend to the whole limb. At the point of injection of the poison, there is redness and swelling but more general disorders (symptoms) such as nausea, vomiting and fever may also appear.
A good remedy that you can use immediately if you are stung while on the beach is to put your foot in the warm sand. Avoid ice or cold water that make things worse (ammonia is not good either). If possible, immediately immerse the injured part in very hot water (37-max 40 ° C) because the temperature inactivates protein toxins , which are thermolabile; if the heat treatment is carried out immediately after the sting, the pain subsides quickly. Painkillers, on the other hand, are not effective, they do not relieve the pain caused by the sting of weever. Totally useless, even if original they are also remedies such as putting out a cigarette on the part where you were stung, applying vinegar or urinating on the wound (any relief comes from the fact that the urine is hot).
On the other hand, it is useful to go to a doctor to assess the need for local or general care, based on the symptoms (symptoms) present, in particular the application of cortisone or antibiotic ointments on the wound and a possible anti-tetanus prophylaxis.