Scorpions are very commonly found in west and southwestern
United States. There have been reported in Arkansas, extreme
southern Illinois, and Kentucky. ALL North American scorpions
are venomous, but their bites are not lethal. The lethality
comes from an allergic reaction, very similar to bee stings.
The scorpion sting usually results in localized pain at the
sting site. There is some swelling, increased warmth and redness
around the sting site and some tingling distal or away from
the sting site. In severe allergic reactions, individuals
may have increased breathing, rapid heartbeat, and may pass
out. Deaths have been reported in children less than ten years
of age. However this is due to hypersensitive or allergic
reactions, similar to bee stings.
Word of Caution
Pet stores are bringing in exotic scorpions from the Middle
East. These are highly poisonous, and their bites may be lethal.
These are NOT like the North American scorpions. We are seeing
more and more imported exotic species such as snakes, scorpions
and spiders. Subsequently, the medical community must be informed
regarding symptomatology of various bites and stings, some
of which may present a bizarre appearance.
Scorpion Sting Treatment
Very similar to bee sting treatment, includes ice at the
bite site and elevation. Muscle spasms may occur in severe
cases. Calcium Gluconate has been helpful. Bed rest and no
food for the first 24 hours can decrease vomiting and aspiration.
An anti-venom is available for severe reactions, but rarely
needed. Please be advised that when administering anti-venom
medication, a small amount to the skin first is suggested
to test for localized reaction to the anti-venom medication.
However, it is extremely rare to administer anti-venom for
In closing, in reality, there is little to fear from a North
American scorpion bite, in contrast to what you may have heard.