Scorpions can be an incredibly intimidating pest to have in or around your home. With their segmented tails and large pincers, they have a fairly frightening look. Combining this with their ability to sting humans and animals results in a well-earned bad reputation.
Luckily, though, most scorpions don’t produce enough venom to be harmful or fatal to humans. However, there are a few that do, and it’s always best to know what to look out for if you or someone you’re with gets stung.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Which Scorpions Have the Worst Stings
- How To Treat a Scorpion Sting
- When To Get Medical Help
By knowing what to do if you get stung by a scorpion, you can stay calm and stay safe while out and about.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
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Which Scorpions Have the Worst Stings?
In the United States, most scorpions that you’re going to encounter will be in areas that have sandy soil like the desert. States in the American Southwest like Arizona, New Mexico, and some areas of California have the highest scorpion populations in the country. The scorpions you encounter there will be mostly harmless, although some of the scorpion species in the family Buthidae can be dangerous.
This includes the very common scorpion species, the Arizona bark scorpion, which gets its name from the fact that it will burrow underneath the first layer of bark on a tree. These scorpions pack enough venom in their sting to induce severe symptoms like itching, drooling, and other allergic reactions. Knowing what to do can help you make the right choices if you get stung by one of these pests.
Being able to identify an Arizona bark scorpion can let you know whether you need to get medical treatment after being hit with a stinger or not. Bark scorpions are fairly small and are usually about 2.5 inches in length. They have tan bodies, and their backs are darker in color, which is one of their most recognizable traits. If you’re sure that you’ve been stung by a bark scorpion, you must get treatment as soon as you possibly can.
How To Treat a Scorpion Sting
The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re stung by a scorpion is stay calm. While it can be scary to get stung, it’s important to know the odds are good that the scorpion that stung you isn’t venomous enough to cause real harm. Even the Arizona bark scorpion’s sting can be treated if you act fast and don’t panic. Simply move away from the area where you got stung to be sure that it won’t happen again.
After you’ve moved away from the area, you’ll want to lessen the pain with first aid by cleaning the wound and applying an antibiotic ointment. Then, put cold compresses on the wound and elevate it to the same height as your heart. If it’s hurting, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
After being stung and putting on the cool compresses, the best thing you can do is monitor the sting for any additional symptoms. Take stock of how you’re feeling and keep an eye out for any additional effects like numbness, difficulty breathing, sweating, or nausea. These could all be indicators of a severe reaction and should be taken very seriously.
While monitoring your symptoms, be sure not to take any sedatives or benzodiazepines. Some severe scorpion stings can cause neurological issues, and being sedated will make things even worse. Always tell someone else that you’ve been stung, even if it’s just some strangers on a trail. If you start to lose consciousness, you must have someone who can help get you medical attention.
The most important thing to remember is that more than likely, you won’t experience any life-threatening reactions outside of mild symptoms and the initial pain, which is comparable to a bee sting or spider bite. Staying calm and doing everything you can to treat the wound will likely be enough to recover from the ordeal.
In the United States, most scorpions that you’re going to encounter will be in areas that have sandy soil like the desert. The scorpions you encounter there will be mostly harmless, although some of the scorpion species in the family Buthidae can be dangerous.
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When to Get Medical Help
If you start to experience unusual symptoms from your scorpion sting, it’s best to get medical care as soon as possible. Symptoms that can’t be treated with home remedies include:
- Rapid eye movements
- Muscle twitching or muscle spasms
- Increased heart rate
- Trouble breathing
If you or someone you’re with starts to experience these symptoms, especially young children or older adults, call poison control and go to the nearest emergency department as soon as you can. These could be a sign of either anaphylaxis or envenomation. The hospital should be able to provide an antivenom that can help reduce these symptoms and treat the sting site.
A scorpion sting is never a pleasant experience. However, knowing that you have some control over the situation can help you stay calm. If you know what to look for and what kind of remedies to use, you can ensure that the sting won’t be serious.
If you’re dealing with a scorpion infestation in your backyard or home, you must get help from a pest control professional. They will know what kinds of pesticides to use and what your best course of action will be to get rid of them. They can also help you make sure that they don’t come back and bother you in the future.