Scorpion Stings

Topic Overview

Scorpions, found mostly in the western and especially the southwestern United States, are up to 3 in. (7.6 cm) in length. They have eight legs and a pair of pincers like a crab has. The stinger, which injects venom, is located at the end of a narrow tail that curves around and over the back of the scorpion's body.

See a picture of a scorpion.

Although some scorpions are not poisonous, others have venom strong enough to kill a person. Some scorpions are found in cool, damp places, such as basements, junk piles, and wood piles. Other scorpions are found in desert areas. Symptoms of a scorpion sting may include:

  • Intense immediate pain lasting from minutes to 24 hours.
  • Swelling, itching, and a change in skin color.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Anxiety, drowsiness, and fainting.
  • Increased saliva, tears, and sweat.
  • Numbness of the tongue.
  • Vision problems.
  • Diarrhea or inability to control bowels.
  • Swollen glands.

If you have been stung by a scorpion, contact a doctor immediately. Medicine (antivenom) may be needed to counteract the effects of the scorpion sting.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised October 14, 2011

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