How Do You Handle a Scorpion Sting?

Medically Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on June 06, 2023
1 min read

A jab from this critter’s curvy tail is painful, but it rarely causes an allergic reaction.

You might have minor problems, like pain, swelling, numbness, and tingling at the site. Put ice on the area to bring down the swelling. Take an antihistamine or use a hydrocortisone cream to ease inflammation and itching.

It might be a different story if you live in the U.S. Southwest. The bark scorpion, which is common in this area, has venom that causes symptoms like fast breaths, high blood pressure, a racing heart, weakness, and muscle twitches. They’re light tan with a little darker back, about 2-3 inches long, and if you have a UV light, they may glow in the dark.

If you think one has stung you, call your doctor or go to the emergency room. If you can, bring the scorpion with you. Drop it into scalding water to kill it first. Then put the body in a storage bag or lidded box.

To avoid stings:

  • Wear shoes, particularly at night.
  • Put on gloves when you work in the yard, lift rocks and logs, or collect firewood.
  • When you camp, don’t sleep on the bare ground.
  • Shake out your shoes before you put them on, especially if you've left them outside or in a basement or garage.