A scorpion sting may make your skin look red and slightly swollen. Most stings aren’t harmful and only cause pain around the stung area. You may feel a mild tingling or burning sensation.
Scorpion stings are painful but rarely life-threatening. Young children and older adults are most at risk of serious complications.
Scorpions are predatory arachnids of the order of Scorpiones. They have eight legs and are easily recognized by a pair of grasping pincers and a narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back and always ending with a stinger. The evolutionary history of scorpions goes back 435 million years.
They mainly live in deserts but have adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions, and can be found on all continents except Antarctica. There are over 2,500 described species, with 22 extant (living) families recognized to date. Their taxonomy is being revised to account for 21st-century genomic studies.
Scorpions primarily prey on insects and other invertebrates, but some species hunt vertebrates. They use their pincers to restrain and kill prey, or to prevent their own predation. The venomous sting is used for offence and defence. During courtship, the male and female grasp each other’s pincers and dance while he tries to move her onto his sperm packet.
All known species give live birth and the female cares for the young as their exoskeletons harden, transporting them on her back. The exoskeleton contains fluorescent chemicals and glows under ultraviolet light.
Scorpion venom serves to kill or paralyze prey rapidly. The stings of many species are uncomfortable, but only 25 species have venom that is deadly to humans. Those species belong to the family Buthidae, including Leiurus quinquestriatus, Hottentotta spp., Centruroides spp., and Androctonus spp.
People with allergies are especially at risk; otherwise, first aid is symptomatic, with analgesia. Cases of very high blood pressure are treated with medications that relieve anxiety and relax the blood vessels. Scorpion envenomation with high morbidity and mortality is usually due to either excessive autonomic activity and cardiovascular toxic effects, or neuromuscular toxic effects.
Antivenom is the specific treatment for scorpion envenomation combined with supportive measures including vasodilators in patients with cardiovascular toxic effects, and benzodiazepines when there is neuromuscular involvement. Although rare, severe hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis to scorpion antivenin are possible.
Scorpion stings are a public health problem, particularly in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, North Africa, the Middle East and India. Around 1.5 million scorpion envenomations occur each year with around 2,600 deaths. Mexico is one of the most affected countries, with the highest biodiversity of scorpions in the world, some 200,000 envenomations per year and at least 300 deaths.
Efforts are made to prevent envenomation and control scorpion populations. Prevention encompasses personal activities such as checking shoes and clothes before putting them on, not walking in bare feet or sandals and filling in holes and cracks where scorpions might nest. Street lighting reduces scorpion activity.
Control may involve the use of insecticides such as pyrethroids, or gathering scorpions manually with the help of ultraviolet lights. Domestic predators of scorpions, such as chickens and turkeys, can help to reduce the risk to a household.
How do you treat a scorpion sting?
Treatment for scorpion stings depends on the type of scorpion involved and the amount of venom injected. Most people don’t need to see a healthcare provider for a scorpion sting. However, you can call the poison control centre for guidance. What you can do for scorpion sting treatment at home includes:
Clean the site of the sting with soap and water.
Apply ice or a cold compress to the area.
Elevate the area so it’s at the same level as your heart.
Use an antihistamine or corticosteroid on the affected area.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen to reduce the pain.
If you’re not sure what kind of scorpion stung you or you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms may include difficulty breathing, extreme swelling, vomiting and shock. Use an epinephrine auto-injector if necessary, and call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Your healthcare provider may treat more serious symptoms, such as those caused by a bark scorpion sting, with an antivenom medication. Antivenom can neutralize the effects of a scorpion sting’s venom. It’s important to receive antivenom as soon as possible after serious symptoms appear.
The vast majority of species do not seriously threaten humans, and healthy adults usually do not need medical treatment after a sting. About 25 species (fewer than one per cent) have venom capable of killing a human, which happens frequently in the parts of the world where they live, primarily where access to medical treatment is unlikely.
Scorpions appear in art, folklore, mythology, and commercial brands. Scorpion motifs are woven into kilim carpets for protection from their sting. Scorpius is the name of a constellation; the corresponding astrological sign is Scorpio. A classical myth about Scorpius tells how the giant scorpion and its enemy Orion became constellations on opposite sides of the sky.
Potential medicinal use
Scorpion venom is a mixture of neurotoxins; most of these are peptides, and chains of amino acids. Many of them interfere with membrane channels that transport sodium, potassium, calcium, or chloride ions. These channels are essential for nerve conduction, muscle contraction and many other biological processes. Some of these molecules may be useful in medical research and might lead to the development of new disease treatments.
Among their potential therapeutic uses are analgesic, anti-cancer, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, bradykinin-potentiating, and immunosuppressive drugs. As of 2020, no scorpion toxin-based drug is on sale, though chlorotoxin is being trialled for use against glioma, a brain cancer.
More dangerous scorpion stings can be life-threatening. The most dangerous species in the U.S. is the bark scorpion, which lives primarily in Arizona. It also lives in some parts of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The bark scorpion can cause more severe symptoms. Go to the emergency room if you or someone else experiences any of the following scorpion sting symptoms:
Numbness all over your body.
Thick tongue, excessive salivating and drooling.
Roving eye movements.
Muscle twitching (myoclonus).
Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
High blood pressure (hypertension).
What causes scorpion stings?
Scorpions typically live in populated areas. They often make their homes in the crevices of people’s houses. They also live in other small spaces such as under rocks and in firewood. If you encounter a scorpion unexpectedly, it may inject venom into your body to defend itself.
How can I reduce my risk of a scorpion sting?
Scorpions are more active at night, but people can get stung at any time. You can lessen your risk by wearing long sleeves, pants and gloves when you’re outside in areas where scorpions live. In these areas, it’s also a good idea to shake out your shoes and clothing before putting them on. In addition:
Wear protective footwear when you’re in an area where scorpions live.
Use caution when moving logs, lifting rocks or collecting firewood.
Don’t handle scorpions with your bare hands.
While camping, avoid sleeping directly on the ground.
Carry an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen®) if you know you have an allergy.
Can you die from a scorpion sting?
Scorpion stings can be fatal, especially in people ages 6 and younger. But most types of scorpions in North America aren’t venomous. Death from a scorpion is extremely rare. There hasn’t been a reported death from a scorpion sting in the United States in more than 50 years. Bromazolam Powder for Sale Online.
How long do scorpion sting symptoms last?
Most scorpion sting symptoms go away without treatment within 48 hours. The symptoms of more severe scorpion stings can continue to develop for 24 hours. Your healthcare provider will want to watch you carefully for that amount of time to manage your symptoms and make sure new ones don’t develop.