Vacation risk: Impending injuries from poison fish in the North and Baltic Seas

Vacation risk: Impending injuries from poison fish in the North and Baltic Seas

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Poison Information Center: More and more painful poisoning from a fish

According to the Poison Information Center North (GIZ-Nord), poisoning from contact with a fish, the “pet man”, has led to increasing inquiries in recent years. According to the experts, the injuries are extremely painful. The pain and swelling can last for weeks and months.

More inquiries about poisoning

Whether caused by fungi, plants, cleaning agents or poisonous animals - advice in the event of an acute poisoning is the main task of the Poison Information Center North (GIZ-Nord) at the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG). According to a message, the experts at GIZ-Nord answered a total of 42,692 questions about poisoning last year. That is around four percent more than in the previous year. Above all, questions related to poisoning by a fish have increased.

Poisoning from contact with a fish

According to the experts, toxins (toxins) produced by animals and plants are among the most dangerous known toxins.

As stated in the communication, poisoning from contact with a fish, the “pet man”, has led to increasing inquiries in GIZ-Nord over the past 20 years.

"Poisoning with the pet man repeatedly occurs on the north German coasts. You either step on the fish in shallow water or anglers injure themselves when the fish is detached from the fish hook, ”says Prof. Dr. Andreas Schaper, who runs GIZ-Nord together with Dr. Martin Ebbecke leads.

"Fortunately, there have been no fatal poisonings so far," says Schaper.

Difficult to see

"The distribution area of ​​the Petermännchen in Germany is the North and Baltic Sea", says a contribution from the University of Bremen (HSB).

In the spawning season (July - August) they look for shallow and sandy waters, in winter they withdraw into deeper waters, explains the Schleswig-Holstein State Office for Social Services in a leaflet.

Because they are often color-matched to the substrate and dig into the mud or sand, they are difficult to recognize for bathers.

“The back spines are set up when there is danger. When swimming, snorkeling, diving or wading in shallow water, there can be contact with the fish, ”the experts explain.

And: "Poisoning also occurs when fishing or net fishing if you try to grab the fish without gloves."

Stitches are usually not life threatening

According to the Schleswig-Holstein State Office, the stings are generally not life-threatening.

But: "The injuries are extremely painful and the symptoms can last for weeks, months, in rare individual cases even for years," explains Dr. Martin Ebbecke from GIZ-Nord.

In addition to the severe pain that can spread to neighboring regions of the body, the penetrating poison also causes local reactions such as swelling, redness, blistering and numbness.

In rare cases, systemic effects (circulatory collapse, nausea and vomiting) and ECG changes can also occur.

"The therapy is based on the symptoms, there is no specific antidote," says Dr. Martin Ebbecke. GIZ-Nord is currently analyzing over three hundred cases of poisoning by pet men as part of a doctoral thesis. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

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