AN URGENT warning has been issued to Brits about the danger of a venomous fish that has been drawn back to UK shores by recent heatwaves.
Beachgoers have been urged to look out for the creatures, which can cause pain bad enough to make "grown men cry."
The RNLI told sun seekers to be careful at UK beaches due to the possible presence of weever fish that bury themselves in sand, making them hard to spot.
The pesky creatures are protected by spines which, if trodden on, release a potent venom that can cause agony to unlucky victims.
The toxic sting has even been said to be worse than childbirth.
Lifeguards recommend that beachgoers, including swimmers and surfers, wear beach shoes in shallow waters to avoid the sneaky fish.
Another option is for paddlers to drag their feet as they go, disrupting the sand and scaring away hiding weever fish.
On the power of the sting, Beau Gillet, an RNLI lifeguard supervisor, said: "I have seen grown men cry and children hardly affected.
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"It really depends on the size of the fish, how you step on it and how your body reacts to the venom."
The effect of the sting can last 12-24 hours according to the British Sea Fishing website.
They also recommend seeking medical attention if the person stung is a child, elderly person or a person with underlying health conditions or if someone has a particularly severe reaction.
What are weever fish – and how can you avoid them?
THE fish are part of the Trachinida family and there are nine species of them.
However, only two are found in UK waters – the lesser and the greater weever.
The lesser weever is the type which Brits are most likely to come into contact with.
They are aggressive predators, feeding on immature fish, prawns and crustaceans. The creatures have spines containing strong venom on their dorsal fins and on their gill covers.
The species are mostly brown and around four to eight inches long. Stings from the creature were relatively rare, but a growing number have been reported in Plymouth, Cornwall and Kent.
People have been known to become unconscious due to the venom.
In 2001, jogger Carrie Kelly was knocked unconscious by a weever sting while out on Aberavon beach in Port Talbot.
While schoolgirl Eve Austin developed a rare condition leaving her in a wheelchair after being stung by the fish on a family holiday in 2016.
According to NHS Choices, if you are unlucky enough to get stung at the beach you should not pee on the area, cover it with vinegar or close the wound.
It recommends soaking in hot water and removing the spines from the skin with tweezers or a bank card.
Official advice if you are stung is to soak the affected area in "very hot" water for at least half an hour to draw the venom out.
The statement concluded: "If the spine is stuck in your foot, it is also advised that you pull it out with tweezers or the edge of a bank card.
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"Do not touch the spine with bare hands."
This comes as Kent Online reported that weever fish have been found in UK shallow waters during the summer.
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