Scorpions belong to the Arachnida class and are closely related to ticks, spiders and mites. The anatomy of a scorpion comprises of 8 legs, two pincers with an elongated body. The scorpion's tail consists of segments of varying length ranging from 9 to 20 cm. The last segment of the tail contains the stinger, which is also known as telson. Scorpions are of different types. Some types are smaller in size and more translucent and can also be difficult to see. Scorpions appear to the eye as a narrow string on the ground. The stinger of the scorpion transmits a toxin to the victim. Out of the 2000 species of the scorpion, only 25-40 of them transmit venom sufficient to cause serious harm to humans. Majority of the scorpions are harmless. Bark Scorpion is one of the most poisonous and potentially fatal species, particularly for infants, young children and elderly.

Scorpion Bite: Symptoms, Home Remedies, First Aid, Treatment

There are many different colored scorpions ranging from tan to light brown and to black. All the scorpions have a long tail segment containing a stinger. Scorpions come out during the night and during daytime hide in the trees or under the rocks.

Risk Factors For Scorpion Bite

There are certain factors which increase the risk of you getting a scorpion bite:

  • Scorpions are found in desert regions, and are active in summer and spring.
  • Scorpions, especially bark scorpions; hide in the bark of the trees and beneath the rocks and logs.
  • In household scenario, scorpions hide in trash cans, in firewood, bedding and shoes.
  • You are more likely to encounter poisonous scorpions when traveling to developing countries. They can also hide in your clothing and luggage and come home with you.

Symptoms Produced From Scorpion Bite

Most of the times, a scorpion sting causes discomfort which gradually abates. Sometimes, a person can feel moderate to severe discomfort/pain, which can be described as the following:

  • Patient experiences a painful, burning, tingling, numbing sensation at site of the scorpion sting.
  • There is slight redness seen at the scorpion sting site.
  • Just like bee sting, patient can also develop an allergic reaction to a scorpion sting, which can sometimes be life threatening (anaphylaxis).

Sometimes a person can experience a severe reaction or develop serious symptoms sue to scorpion bite or scorpion sting, which comprise of:

Scorpion Bite

  • Numbness all over the body.
  • Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia).
  • Tongue thickness.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Erratic eye movements.
  • Excessive salivation.
  • Seizures.
  • Vomiting.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Hypertension/hypotension.

All these symptoms of scorpion bite are serious and life threatening and need prompt medical attention.

Home Remedies And First Aid For Scorpion Bite

Home treatment is usually sufficient for most of the scorpion sting and it comprises of:

  • Wash the scorpion sting site with soap and water.
  • Remove any jewelry worn at the scorpion bite site, as swelling in the site region will hamper the circulation.
  • Application of ice or cool compresses should be done for at least 10 minutes. Remove the cold compresses for 10 minutes then apply again. This will help in easing the pain, burning sensation and swelling sue to scorpion bite.
  • Keep the affected region above the level of the heart.
  • In case if the patient is having difficulty swallowing, avoid consuming any food or drinks.
  • Keep the patient as still and calm as possible, this will slow down the spreading of the poison.
  • OTC analgesics, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken every 4 hours for pain relief of scorpion bite. NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin should be avoided as they can cause other problems.
  • If there is secondary infection in the scorpion sting site, then antibiotics are given.
  • Do not make a cut in the wound and avoid applying suction to it.
  • Home Remedy For Scorpion Bite Using Turmeric: Turmeric has anti inflammatory, antibiotic and healing property which makes it a great first aid for scorpion bites/stings. It acts as an antidote as well. One can sprinkle some amount of turmeric on the scorpion bite/sting area or can make a paste of turmeric with water and apply over the wound.
  • Onion Juice is an effective home remedy for Scorpion Bite. Onion has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. Applying onion juice on the scorpion bite site can be helpful first aid.

Treatment For Scorpion Bite

  • Patient needs to be admitted to the hospital for severe symptoms of scorpion bite.
  • Bed rest is important.
  • Depending on the patient's condition after a scorpion bite, intravenous drugs are given to manage hypertension, pain and agitation.
  • Sedatives can be prescribed for muscle spasms caused due to scorpion bite.
  • Anti-venom is given for serious symptoms or if the patient is stung by a Bark Scorpion.

What To Do If Stung By A Bark Scorpion?

If the patient is having serious symptoms after a scorpion bite, which are mentioned above, especially if the victim is an infant, a child or someone elderly, then the following steps should be taken:

  • Immediately call Poison Control and 911.
  • Continuous application of ice and cool compresses should be done at the scorpion sting site.
  • Keep the patient as still and calm as possible, this will slow down the spreading of the poison.
  • If possible, carefully collect the injured/dead scorpion in a sealed container. This can be shown to the physician and can be helpful in treatment.
  • Anti-venom therapy is available for sting by a bark scorpion (Centruroides species). The anti-venom helps in stopping all the symptoms in about 4 hours after it's given.
  • All, except the mildest symptoms, need hospital admission and observation for 24 hours.

Prevention Of Scorpion Bite Or Sting

There are few steps and measures, which can be undertaken to prevent a scorpion sting and these are:

  • Keep your house clean and remove any trash, boards, logs, bricks, stones and other such things, which will make good hiding places for the scorpions in your home.
  • Mow your lawn/ grass regularly and also prune bushes and cut any overhanging tree branches, which will allow the scorpion access to the roof.
  • Seal any cracks in walls and floors and repair any torn screens.
  • Avoid storing firewood inside the house.
  • If you are camping or hiking, wear long sleeves, pants and shoes. Also check your sleeping bag, bedding for scorpions and other bugs before getting in.
  • Always check your clothes and shake them well before wearing them. Always wear shoes.
  • Sleep under a mosquito net if you are in a foreign country.
  • Always carry an EpiPen, which is an epinephrine injector, if you are allergic to insect stings.

Also Read:

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: September 12, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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