Scorpion Stings

1 What are Scorpion Stings?

Scorpion stings – although painful – are mostly harmless. About 30 out of 1500 species can cause fatal signs.

In United States bark scorpion is the only one to have potentially harmful venom. Mexico, south America, parts of Africa and India are the other parts of world where scorpion venom might be dangerous.

Scorpion stings are more serious in young children, older adults and pets.

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2 Symptoms

Most scorpion stings cause minor signs and symptoms such as pain warmth at the site. The venom of bark scorpion, native to Arizona, New Mexico and California side of river Colorado, is more toxic and can cause life threatening cases in children.

Mild signs and symptoms include:

  • intense pain,
  • numbness and tingling in the area around sting,
  • sweating around the sting.

More severe signs and symptoms include:

  • muscle twitching,
  • unusual head,
  • neck and eye movements,
  • sweating, drooling,
  • vomiting,
  • hypertension (increase in blood pressure) or hypotension (low blood pressure),
  • accelerated heart beat (tachycardia) or decelerated heart beat (bradycardia),
  • excitability or restlessness.  

3 Causes

Scorpion stings are caused by a stung of a scorpion.

Scorpions are arthropods. The size of an average scorpion is around 7.6 cm or 3 inches but depending on the species the size might vary. They have 4 pairs of legs, crab like pincers. They use tail to sting their prey and kill it in normal circumstances but in some threatened situations they might sting humans to protect themselves.

The amount of the venom released during sting depends on how terrified the scorpion was and some stings are even venom less. The main factor here is venom it is an exotoxin which is potentially harmful and may cause life threatening situations. 

4 Making a Diagnosis

History of the patient and symptoms are enough to establish the diagnosis of scorpion sting. 

Although, blood sample is taken and sent to laboratory for identification of toxin and our bod’s response to the toxin.

Imaging tests may be performed to check the state of liver, lungs, heart and kidney.

5 Treatment

Most scorpion stings do not need medical treatment but some species of scorpion cause severe symptoms and there is a need of supportive care.

This supportive care in hospitals include medications such as spasmolytic, anti-hypertensive, analgesics, and sedatives in severe cases anti-venom must be used to reduce the toxicity and protect the vital organs.

Anascorp, is an anti-venom commonly used in Mexico to treat bark scorpion stings.

6 Prevention

Mostly scorpions tend to avoid contact, if you live in an area where scorpions are common, some prevention must be taken to avoid contact with scorpions:

  • Remove trash: logs, boards, stones, bricks and other objects which make perfect hiding places for scorpions around home.
  • Keep grass closely mowed and prune bushes which can provide path for scorpions on to roof top.
  • While hiking or camping: wear long sleeves and pants, always check your sleeping bag, shake your shoes before wearing them.
  • Don’t store firewood inside house: fire wood becomes one of the best hiding places for scorpions. 

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Some alternatives and home remedies of scorpion stings are as follows:

  • Ice: apply ice on top of the scorpion sting to battle pain and inflammation.
  • Soap and water: to prevent bacterial intoxication wash the wound with soap and water.
  • Maintaining calmness: staying calm will decrease the spreading of venom.
  • Cortisone cream: applying this cream will decrease the symptoms of pain.
  • Mango leaf and meat tenderizers are used to treat the pain caused by scorpion sting.  

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Making a recovery after scorpion sting is not difficult with the aid of medicine and medical supervision one can cope faster and continue their daily life activities.

Keep the affected limb raised to the level of heart. Try to stay calm this will decrease the distribution of venom in body.

Don’t consume liquids or food if you have difficulty swallowing.

9 Risks and Complications

Certain elements can increase the risk of acquiring scorpion sting, which include:

  • Location: in the United States, scorpions mainly live in desert southwest, particularly Arizona. In other places they are mostly found in India, south America, Africa.
  • Environment: these scorpions usually live under bark of the tree and people encounter them while hiking. House scorpion usually hides in firewood, garbage pails, bed linen and shoes.
  • Season: scorpions are mostly active when the temperature is over 21 C.
  • Travel: while travel to places where there are more scorpions one might not only encounter them but may also accidentally carry them back home because they can hide in clothing, luggage, shipping containers.

Complications of a scorpion sting might include:

  • problems with breathing,
  • tachycardia or bradycardia,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • allergic reaction to the scorpion venom might cause anaphylactic shock and may eventually lead to death.