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Scorpions

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Introduction

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 scorpion bites.

In closing, in reality, there is little to fear from a North American scorpion bite, in contrast to what you may have heard.




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