What To Do If You Get Stung By A Scorpion

Scorpions have a long venomous stinger at the end of their tails. It's not intended for you; it's supposed to be used on their prey so that they can subdue and eat it. However, that doesn't mean that it won't use it on you if it feels threatened. In some areas, scorpion stings are a very common issue for people who spend time outdoors. According to Cleveland Clinic, there are at least 1.5 million scorpion stings every year. Usually, they are painful, but not a big deal. Very rarely, however, they can be deadly.

There are believed to be 1,500 different species of scorpion. While their stings are painful, only 50 of them can be life threateningly dangerous to humans. In the United States, there is only one, the bark scorpion, whose sting is potentially deadly.

In general, scorpion stings cause redness and swelling comparable to a bee sting. Usually, you can take care of it yourself.

Treatment for mild stings

When you are first stung, you will likely experience a burning sensation at the spot you were stung. Over time, you may also have some swelling where the scorpion's tail touched you. If you're unsure if it was a scorpion, try the tap test. If the pain gets worse when you tap it, it might be a scorpion sting. Even if the sting is mild, it is a good idea to contact Poison Control at 800-222-1222 for advice. Generally, all you need is at home pain relief.

After you have cleaned the sting, you may want to apply ice to numb the pain and bring down the inflammation. If the sting occurred on your arm or leg, raise the limb up so that it is at the same level as your heart. If you know that you tolerate them well, you may also want to take an over the counter antihistamine, pain medication, or apply a hydrocortisone cream on the sting. Although it may be tempting, it's not a good idea to take sleep aids or rescue anti-anxiety medications, as they may mask more serious symptoms.

Treatment for serious stings

Although many scorpion stings just cause a painful, burning sensation similar to a bee sting, you may also experience pain, tingling, and numbness throughout your whole body. If you experience severe symptoms, such as trouble walking, breathing or swallowing, nausea, fever, or racing heart beat, you should take them seriously and seek medical help immediately. These are signs that venom is spreading throughout your body.

Even if you were not stung by a bark scorpion or other potentially deadly stinger, it is possible to be allergic to a scorpion sting. If you are having signs of an allergic reaction like hives, trouble breathing, or nausea or vomiting, you should go to the emergency room.

If you have any concern at all that your symptoms aren't normal for a scorpion sting, definitely seek help immediately, as you may need to be monitored by medical professionals and given antivenom. 

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