A child has been hospitalized after being impaled in the chest by a catfish's barb in New Port Richey, Florida.
The barb was “lodged approximately 1-1.5 inches in the child’s chest,” according to a Facebook post from the Pasco County Fire Rescue on Monday.
The child, identified as a boy under age 10 by NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa, was apparently having trouble breathing while his mother drove him to the hospital after the incident.
She pulled over to call 911, and the boy was soon airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa.
The boy is now in stable condition, WFLA reported.
Officials did not reveal what kind of catfish was involved in this incident, but some species of catfish have venomous spines on their back and side fins, according to a safety pamphlet from the Florida Department of Health.
Catfish spines can be strong enough to pierce the sole of a shoe, the agency said, adding that “stings are painful and cause swelling, numbness and sometimes fainting or reduced heart rate.”
Stings often occur on people’s hands or feet if they lose their grip on a catfish while removing a fishing hook.
If stung by a catfish or other stinging marine animals, such as sea urchins or stinging coral, the Florida Department of Health says you should not try to remove the spines or tentacles with your bare hands. They recommend calling 911 or a poison control center for help.