Although painful — scorpion stings are mostly harmless. In the United States, the bark scorpion, is found mainly in the desert Southwest, and has venom potent enough to cause severe symptoms. Elsewhere, lethal scorpion stings occur predominantly in Mexico, South America, and parts of Africa, the Middle East and India.
Scorpion stings are most serious in young children, older adults and pets. In the United States, healthy adults usually don't need treatment for scorpion stings, but if your child is stung, seek immediate medical care.
Most scorpion stings in the United States cause only minor signs and symptoms, such as pain and warmth at the sting site. The venom of the bark scorpion, native to Arizona, New Mexico and the California side of the Colorado River, is more toxic. Although rare, a scorpion sting can be life-threatening, particularly in children.
Mild signs and symptoms include:
· Pain, which can be intense
· Numbness and tingling in the area around the sting
· Slight swelling in the area around the sting
More-severe signs and symptom include:
· Muscle twitching or thrashing
· Unusual head, neck and eye movements
· High blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension)
· Accelerated heart rate (tachycardia) or irregular heart beat (arrhythmia)
· Restlessness or excitability or inconsolable crying (in children)
When to see a doctor
· If you are having a minor reaction and you're concerned about a scorpion sting, first call your local poison control center for advice. To reach a poison control center in the U.S., call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222.
· Call 911 and get immediate medical care if you feel swelling in your throat or tongue or have difficult breathing or feel you are having a strong reaction.
· Get immediate medical care for any child stung by a scorpion.
· Seek medical attention right away if you or your child is stung while traveling in another country.
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