Ideas For A Marine Sting Pain Index

Ideas For A Marine Sting Pain Index

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index was created by renowned entomologist Justin O. Schmidt as a pain scale that rates the relative pain caused by different insect stings.

Schmidt created his pain index (see below) after being stung by 78 different species.

1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.
1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
2.x Honey bee and European hornet: Like a match head that flips off and burns on your skin.
3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
4.0 Tarantula hawk: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.
4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel.

We wonder how the global open water swimming community would colorfully describe the stings they have received from marine life. How would swimmers describe the stings they have received from marine stingers, box jellyfish, Portuguese man o war, sea wasps (Chironex fleckeri), agua malas [Spanish], moon jellyfish, blue blubbers, Lion’s mane jellies, as well as poisonous lionfish, sea urchins, sea snakes and other venomous creatures from the depths.

Open water swimmers ca send their comments, experiences and suggested ideas for a Marine Sting Pain Index to [email protected] for a follow-up article and community debate.

Photo above shows Kimberley Chambers suffering from numerous jellyfish stings during her crossing of the North Channel. She was later admitted to a specialized respiratory ward in Northern Ireland and then flown back to United States where she was admitted to a cardiac ward at a San Francisco hospital.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association