Scorpions, found in southwestern Canada and throughout the United States, are up to 7.5 cm (3 in.) in length. They have eight legs and a pair of pincers like a crab has. The stinger, which injects venom, is located at the end of a narrow tail that curves around and over the back of the scorpion's body. Although some scorpions are not poisonous, others have venom strong enough to kill a person.
Some scorpions are found in cool, damp places, such as basements, junk piles, and wood piles. Other scorpions are found in desert areas.
What are the symptoms of a scorpion sting?
Symptoms of a scorpion sting may include:
Intense immediate pain lasting from minutes to 24 hours.
Swelling, itching, and a change in skin colour.
Nausea and vomiting.
Anxiety, drowsiness, and fainting.
Increased saliva, tears, and sweat.
Numbness of the tongue.
How is a scorpion sting treated?
If you have been stung by a scorpion, it's important to talk to a doctor immediately. Medicine (antivenom) may be needed to counteract the effects of the scorpion sting.
Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
Try an over-the-counter medicine for itching, redness, swelling, and pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Take an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin), to help calm the itching or swelling.
Put a hydrocortisone 1% cream or calamine lotion on the skin.
Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.