While fishing Naples Pier, there are days when it seems that the only fish around are the catfish eating your precious baits. Or in the backwater. Few injuries have come into the office when people tried to kick the catfish off the pier or dock while wearing sandals, crocs, etc only to get a catfish barb in the toe or foot. They are very painful injuries, not only because of a puncture wound but also because of a protein toxin in the spines. While you can get most of the barbs out, it breaks off easily and stays under the skin. This will be very painful. What to do in the situation?
1) Soak in warm / hot water without scolding your skin
2) Seek medical attention for xrays and possible extraction under local or general anesthesia
3) Retrieval of barb by a medical professional
4) Antibiotics as a precaution.
Best way to treat this? Do not get close to the barbs with your hands or your feet. FFLC treats these injuries on an emergent basis with in office xrays, and ability to clean the wound and retrieve the barb from your foot or lower leg. At times admission to hospital to get general anesthesia may be required.