Scorpions belong to the Arachnida class, and they are related to spiders, mites, and ticks.
There are at least 1,500 scorpion species, and only 25 of them produce a venom that causes serious harm to adult humans. However, any scorpion sting has the potential to cause an allergic reaction, which can be dangerous in its own right. Even if you have identified the species and know it is harmless, treat the wound if you feel any symptoms besides pain and slight swelling.
First of all, how do you know if you’ve been stung by a scorpion? It might be hard to tell a scorpion sting from something else, like a bee sting. There are a few ways in which you can distinguish that you’ve been stung by a scorpion, and not another animal. Some mild signs and symptoms of a scorpion sting include pain, which will most likely be more intense than a bee sting; numbness and tingling in the area around the sting; and slight swelling. If you have a more severe reaction, it will actually be easier to tell that what you have been stung by is a scorpion, because the symptoms are so unique. These severe symptoms include muscle twitching or thrashing; unusual head, eye, and neck movements; drooling; vomiting; severe sweating; high or low blood pressure; accelerated or irregular heartbeat; or restlessness or excitability. So, once you discover that you do indeed have a scorpion sting, what do you do?
1. Wash the sting area with soap and water:
First, wash the area of the sting with soap and water to clean it. This helps remove any residual venom around the area and keeps the wound clear to reduce risk of infection.
If you believe that the scorpion that stung you might be venomous, it might be a good idea to apply bleach to the sting site. Soak a cotton ball with the bleach, then hold it on the sting for about five minutes, or until the tingling sensation stops. If you apply the bleach quickly enough, it could neutralize any possible venom from the scorpion.
Take off any form of jewelry or accessory that may affect circulation when the area swells. For instance, if you get stung on your finger and you’re wearing a ring, you should take it off for the meantime.
2. Keep the injury area still and below heart level:
Unlike some injuries, scorpion sting wounds should never be raised above the heart, as this can cause the venom to spread more quickly through your system. Keep the affected area at heart level or lower, and minimize the victim’s movement to prevent a faster heart rate that will spread the venom more quickly.
3. Apply a cold pack or ice to the sting area:
The cold helps slow the spread of venom, reduce swelling, and numb the pain. Apply the cold pack or bag of ice for ten to fifteen minutes at a time, waiting an equal amount of time between applications. This treatment is most effective within two hours of the time of injury.
4. Take painkillers to reduce pain:
Use pain relievers like ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen to manage the pain and discomfort.
5. If symptoms is severe and persists, check in with a doctor:
The best way to determine the right treatment for a scorpion sting is to know the type of scorpion that stung the patient. If you’re able to capture the scorpion, secure it in a container or you can also snap the pictures and bring it to your doctor.
Scorpions with thick, fat stingers and tails are often more dangerous than scorpions with thin stingers. While it is still useful to capture or photograph the scorpion for specific species identification.
Scorpion stings can range from being manageable to fatal. That’s why you need to be aware of what you need to do in case you or a loved one was stung.
It’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for scorpions if you know that they are in your area. Take measures to protect and fortify your home against scorpions, and be sure that you know what to do in case of a scorpion sting!