A young dad from Queensland was rushed to hospital after standing on a stonefish which are known to be the most venomous of all fish.
At first, Brock Harris thought it was broken glass causing the excruciating pain in his foot, but he soon started bleeding from his nose and ears and experiencing ongoing seizures.
Mr Harris was taking the boat out with his wife Allanah at Golden Beach on the Sunshine Coast. He was putting the boat in the water when he took the potentially fatal step.
It wasn't long before Ms Harris started to fear the worst, so dumping their boat with strangers at a nearby caravan park, the pair raced to the hospital.
Medical staff immediately administered antivenom and submerged Mr Harris' foot in boiling hot water for around seven hours, his wife revealed.
By this point, Mr Harris' foot had doubled in size and he continued having seizures.
'Who knew a fish could be so dangerous'
Sharing the terrifying ordeal on TikTok, Ms Harris admitted her husband is "very lucky to be alive."
"Who knew a fish could be so dangerous," she said. "It was the scariest drive [to the hospital] of my life."
Professor Culum Brown from Macquarie University said most people step on stonefish by accident, mostly because they're "almost impossible to spot."
"They are highly camouflaged and normally live among rocks or seagrass beds in tropical waters," he told Yahoo News Australia.
"They have a bunch of strong, sharp spines along their back which they erect when disturbed. Each spine has an associated venom gland or two that squirt the venom along the spine and into the unsuspecting victim."
Professor Brown said the pain caused by standing on a stonefish is "excruciating" and can cause muscular paralysis, breathing difficulties and even cardiac arrest.
"Always wear shoes if walking in these kinds of habitats," he said.
Hot water helps to remove the venom, Professor brown explained.
Addressing concerns about the boiling water on the TikTok video, Ms Harris explained that "venom is protein-based and the boiling water breaks down the proteins."
It also "helps the swelling go down and prevent nerve damage."
She said her husband suffered from blisters after submerging his foot in boiling water and he couldn't walk for a few days, but he's since recovered and is completely "fine now".
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