Scorpion Stings: Causes, Complications & Treatment
Around 1.5 million people worldwide are stung by a scorpion every year. Most of the scorpion stings are not dangerous. However, certain stings can be life-threatening. Therefore, if you ever encounter a scorpion sting, diagnosing and treating it correctly becomes imperative.
Continue reading this article to know the complications and how to treat a scorpion sting.
What Are Scorpion Stings?
Scorpions belong to the class of arachnids and live in dry and warm climates around the world. The segmented tail which the scorpions have holds a stinger along with two glands that contain venom. Scorpions poke the stinger in a person or animal when they feel threatened or attacked and inject venom. This is known as a scorpion sting.
What Happens After a Scorpion Sting?
Most of the scorpion sting symptoms subside without any treatment for 48 hours. Nevertheless, a few severe symptoms continue to appear for 24 hours. Some people might go through mild symptoms such as swelling, numbness or tingling in the area of the sting. However, a bark scorpion sting can have more severe symptoms. such symptoms include breathing difficulties, muscle thrashing, sweating, nausea, high blood pressure, etc.
What Are the Possible Complications of a Scorpion Sting?
Very young and very old individuals are at a higher risk of dying when the sting of scorpion is left untreated. The heart of the respiratory system fails to work after a sting for such people.
Though rare, another complication due to a scorpion sting is a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
What Causes Scorpion Stings?
The stinger in the tail of a scorpion causes scorpion stings. During a scorpion sting, the stinger might release venom. This venom contains toxins that affect a person's nervous system. However, scorpions do not sting unless someone provokes or attacks them.
What Are the Symptoms of a Scorpion Sting?
The symptoms of a scorpion sting are as follows –
- Pain, which may be intense
- Tingling and numbness
- Slight swelling
- Burning sensation
- Difficulty swallowing
Furthermore, the signs and symptoms of widespread venom effect are as follows –
- Difficulty in breathing
- Muscle spasms and twitching
- Unusual neck, eye and head movements
- Vomiting and nausea
- High blood pressure
- Excitability or restlessness or inconsolable crying in case of children
How to Diagnose a Scorpion Sting?
The doctors need to know the symptoms and history of a person stung to diagnose the issue. In case of severe symptoms, the doctor might recommend you to do blood or image testing to make sure of the effects of venom on the liver, lungs, heart and other body organs.
How Are Scorpion Stings Treated?
Most cases of scorpion stings do not require any medical treatment. However, in case of severe symptoms, you might need medical care. Medical professionals may give you drugs intravenously to treat the pain.
Children or adults with serious symptoms might get anti-venom to treat a scorpion sting.
Furthermore, certain home remedies can treat a scorpion sting. These methods include –
- The wound should be cleaned with water and mild soap.
- Applying a cool compress in the affected region might reduce the pain.
- If needed, take an OTC pain reliever or ibuprofen.
How Can Scorpion Stings Be Prevented?
Scorpions are nocturnal creatures, but they can sting any time. You can prevent a scorpion sting by wearing long pants, sleeves and gloves when you are in an area where scorpions nest. In such places, ensure to shake your clothing and shoes before wearing them.
Living, hiking, camping or working where the scorpions reside increases the risk of getting a scorpion sting. In such areas, make sure to check the surroundings beforehand to avoid a sting. In case you see a scorpion, use a tong to drive it away from yourself or other people.