Management of scorpion stings

Scorpion stings are very painful and considered highly dangerous to children. Scorpions can sting more than once. Scorpions are member of the arachnida class and related to spiders, ticks and mites.

Scorpions have 2 pinchers, 8 legs and an elongated body and a tail with segments. Scorpion ranges from about 9-21 cm in which some species are smaller, but more translucent and usually hard to see. The last segment of the tail contains the stinger which is also called a telson which transmits a toxin.

Symptoms of scorpion stings

  • Numbness and tingling sensation can be felt on the area around the sting
  • Pain can become severe
  • Slight swelling of the affected area
  • Drooling
  • Sweating
  • Muscle twitching or thrashing
    Scorpion stings

    Numbness and tingling sensation can be felt on the area around the sting

  • Unusual movement of the head, neck and eyes
  • Increased heart beating or tachycardia or irregular heart beat or arrhythmia
  • Restlessness or inconsolable crying in children
  • High blood pressure or hypertension and low blood pressure or hypotension

The venom of the scorpion contains complex mixture of toxins that affect the nervous system. Scorpions resist stinging unless irritated or attacked. They control the amount of venom they release which depend on how threatened they feel. Some stings can be venom-less.

Treatment

  • Clean the wound using soap and water. Remove any clothing around the affected area and wash it gently to remove any residual venom on the area and make the wound less prone to infections.
  • Apply a cold compress on the affected area on the initial 2 hours after the sting to lessen the pain and slow down the spread of venom. The cold lessens the swelling, numbs the pain and minimizes the spread of venom. Place ice cubes in plastic bag and wrap with a towel and apply on the affected area for at least 10-15 minutes at a time for several times every day. If the affected person is suffering from circulatory problems, apply the ice pack at 15 minutes at a time to prevent damage.
  • Elevate the affected area below the level of the heart or lower to minimize the spread of the venom. Avoid unnecessary movements to prevent triggering a fast heart rate that will cause rapid spread of venom in the body.
  • Stay calm and quiet to lessen the spread of venom in the body.
  • Avoid eating foods that causes difficulty in swallowing.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen to lessen the pain and discomfort, but avoid using narcotic pain medications which can cause suppression of breathing.

If the affected person is vomiting, sweating, foaming at the mouth, thrashing or twitching muscles such as involuntary movement of the eye, neck, head and difficulty in walking, seek medical help immediately.

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