Many people think that scorpions bite, but they don’t. They sting, and they can sting hard! Fortunately, if the victim of a scorpion sting is able to remain composed, it’s pretty easy to treat. The sting is unlikely to be fatal even if it comes from the most dangerous and venomous of scorpions, and it probably won’t have long-lasting effects. The only truly dangerous kind of scorpions are called centuroides, which normally live in Mexico, Arizona, southern Utah, and New Mexico. It’s important to remember that medical professionals, especially those working in areas with large concentrations of scorpions, are well-trained and well-prepared to treat sting victims. The key is to stay calm.

How to Help Prevent Stings

For people who live in areas with a lot of scorpions, pesticides are recommended to help keep them out of the house. Everyone should use caution when they stick a foot or hand into dark places where scorpions are likely to be hiding. People are often stung by scorpions when reaching into piles of wood, underneath rocks, or putting on their shoes. When camping in areas with a large scorpion population, it’s important to inspect one’s possessions and surroundings regularly to help prevent accidentally stepping on or sitting on a scorpion. Another very important tip when camping is to make sure everyone carefully inspects their sleeping bags before going to bed; no one wants to be awoken by a scorpion sting!

How to Treat Stings

A lot of people don’t realize they’ve been stung by a scorpion when it happens, so it’s important to remember the symptoms for people in areas with large scorpion populations. Non-poisonous, non-emergency scorpion bites produce a little bit of swelling, a numbness or tingling sensation, sensitivity to touch, and immediate pain or burning.

If someone experiences these symptoms and a scorpion sting is suspected, the first step is to wash the sting and surrounding area with soap and water or to apply some sort of antiseptic cleaner. The victim should then apply cold pressure to the area of the sting. This can be done using ice or any frozen items wrapped a washcloth if an icepack isn’t handy. The cool compress should be applied for ten minutes and then removed for ten minutes. If irritation continues, the victim should repeat this process as many times as necessary until the pain subsides. Like with other wounds, if the sting is on an arm or leg, the sting victim should elevate the limb to the level the heart to help with blood flow to the area.

Once immediate attention is given to the victim, it’s wise to contact the local Poison Control Center. The Poison Control Center may suggest a visit to the hospital or a topical medication, depending on the symptoms. Another important call to make is to the doctor to make sure that tetanus shots are up to date and to schedule more shots if necessary. It’s important to keep a close eye on the sting along with the victim’s health in general afterward any treatment. If the victim feels sick or the sting starts to swell more and more, the victim should go to the nearest hospital or clinic immediately.

More serious stings by poisonous scorpions create the aforementioned symptoms, plus potential hyperactivity, muscle twitching, blurry vision or roving eye movements, and tingling of the extremities. If someone experiences these symptoms, a visit to the emergency room is imperative. Seniors and children who believe they may have been stung by a scorpion should also head straight to the nearest hospital, even if they’re not experiencing symptoms related to poisonous stings.

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