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Scorpion Stings

A scorpion sting is painful and can sometimes cause a dangerous allergic reaction.

Most people will have only minor problems, like pain, swelling, numbness, and tingling at the site of the bite. You can use ice to bring down the swelling. Take an antihistamine or use a hydrocortisone cream to relive swelling and itching.

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If you’re bitten by a bark scorpion, found in the U.S. Southwest, you could have symptoms like fast breathing, high blood pressure, racing heart, weakness, and muscle twitching. They are caused by the venom, not an allergic reaction. Call your doctor or go to the emergency department. If possible, bring the scorpion with you. Drop it into scalding water to kill it first.

An allergic reaction can cause life-threatening symptoms, like trouble breathing, abdominal cramps and vomiting, dizziness, or blue lips. If you have an Auvi-Q or Epi-Pen (epinephrine shot), use it. Then call 911 immediately.

To prevent future stings:

  • Wear shoes, particularly at night.
  • Wear gloves when working in the yard, lifting rocks and logs, and when collecting firewood.
  • Don’t sleep directly on the ground when camping.
  • Shake out shoes before putting them on, particularly if you have left them outside or in a basement or garage.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on October 22, 2012

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