Scorpion Sting

What is a Scorpion Sting?

Scorpions are more than just strange looking; they can also cause you a lot of pain. When threatened, scorpions a sharp point on their tail to jab at whatever is treating them. For the most part, if you are stung by a scorpion, medical attention is not necessary, even though they are extremely painful. This is because the majority of scorpions are harmless, other than their stinger.

The reason why you should be aware of the species of scorpions that live in your area is because out of the 1,500 species of scorpions found in the world, only around 30 of the species can inflict a fatal sting.

The United States, the only lethal scorpion is the bark scorpion. Mexico, South America, The Middle East, India, and certain parts of Africa all have quite a few lethal scorpion species, so it is extremely important to understand their basic markings so you can avoid them.

For babies, toddlers, children, older adults, and pets, scorpion stings can be extremely serious. Most healthy adults do not require treatment for a scorpion sting. However, if a child or elderly relative is stung by ANY type of scorpion, seek medical attention immediately.

What are the Symptoms of Scorpion Stings?

The majority of scorpion stings do not cause any serious side effects. They do cause minor signs and symptoms. In the United States, the only scorpion that causes serious symptoms is the bark scorpion. The bark scorpion is native to the western part of the United States and can be found in:

  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • California

The bark scorpion is toxic and its venom can be life threatening, especially to smaller build people and children.

Symptoms of a Mild Scorpion Sting

  • Moderate to intense pain
  • Tingling and numbness around the area where the stinger entered
  • Swelling around the location where the stinger went in

Severe Signs and Symptoms

  • Twitching or thrashing of muscles
  • Head, neck and eye movements that are out of the ordinary
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Drooling
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Restlessness or inconsolable crying in children

Scorpion Sting Causes

Scorpion stings are a cutaneous condition resulting from stinging by the scorpion; it leads to paresthesia, pain, and swelling. Scorpion stings are very painful but pose far less danger to human life, though it results in serious complications to the very old.

A stinger or a barb containing protein toxin (also known as venom) causes the scorpion’s sting symptoms. The toxin produced by the scorpion is not pure and contains a mixture of proteins including protein inhibitors, neurotoxin, and other substances. The types vary in different species, and it is believed to have evolved to target predators and prey of a particular scorpion species. It confirmed that only 25-40 types of species of the approximately 2,000 species of scorpion contain venoms or toxins dangerous to humans.

Nonlethal species of Scorpion tend to produce local reactions resembling hymenopteran sting, while lethal species produce systematic symptoms. It typically takes a duration of five minutes to four hours for the systematic symptoms to show up with the symptoms persisting for about 10-48 hrs.

Risk factors that can cause the condition include your geographical location. Scorpions are found mostly in desert regions, under/on bark, under rocks and logs. You are more likely to encounter a scorpion while camping or hiking. Scorpions can also hide in luggage clothing and shipping containers.

How is a Scorpion Sting Treated?

The majority of scorpion stings do not require medical treatment. They can be treated at home with ice packs, rest, and over-the-counter pain medication.

However, more serious stings should be seen in the emergency room where there is supportive care and professionals who can stabilize the patient’s vital signs. It may be necessary to provide sedatives to control muscle spasms, IV medications to control heart rate and blood pressure, and electrolytes to keep the body hydrated so it can begin healing.

If the person was bitten in Mexico, Arizona, or California, it is important that medical attention be sought as soon as possible. If the hospital determines that the sting came from a bark scorpion, an antivenin may be required since there is such a high mortality rate with their sting.

Scorpion Sting Prevention

Scorpion stings can be prevented by taking necessary precautions such as shaking out shoes and clothing to dislodge scorpions if there are any, and by wearing well-covering clothing (tucking pant legs into boots and wearing gloves will minimize exposure). Spraying pesticides around your home will sedate some scorpions and make them easier to kill before they can sting (though always follow instructions when using pesticides). Additionally, pesticides can also reduce a scorpion’s food source (insects and bugs).

Whenever you see or feel a scorpion on your skin, brush it off instead of slapping, as most investigators suggest that a scorpion is likely to sting if the slap does not kill it.