Symptoms and Signs of Scorpion Sting

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 10/13/2021

Doctor's Notes on Scorpion Sting

Scorpions are a member of the Arachnida class and are closely related to ticks, spiders, and mites. Most types of scorpions do not deliver enough venom to cause serious harm or death to humans, but stings from some species can be fatal. Scorpions hunt at night and during the day tend to hide along rocks or trees. They are most common in arid or desert regions.

Symptoms associated with a scorpion sting include

  • pain,
  • burning,
  • tingling, or
  • a numbing sensation at the location of the sting.

The stinger from a scorpion is usually not left in the tissue at the site of the sting. Scorpions may sting more than once. A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is a rare consequence of a scorpion sting.

What Are the Treatments for a Scorpion Sting?

Most scorpion stings do not require treatment if an adult is stung. However, young children may develop more severe symptoms. Rarely, some individuals may be allergic to the sting and need treatment for anaphylaxis. However, the following can be done initially for both adults and children:

  • Safely kill or capture the scorpion. It can sting more than once.
  • Clean the sting wound with soap and water.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen (Advil).
  • Get a tetanus shot if needed.
  • Do not let the person eat or drink if he is experiencing more severe signs and symptoms, like difficulty swallowing, acting abnormal, or having shortness of breath.
  • Patients with severe symptoms need to be seen by a medical caregiver. Call 911 and poison control.
  • Antivenom against scorpion stings may be available at the hospital.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.