On all continents except Antarctica, scorpions can be found. Despite more than 1,300 species, there are only about 90 species found in the United States. In Southern and Southwestern parts of the country, they tend to thrive. It’s true that scorpions are venomous, but don’t let that bother you. The treatment needed for scorpion stings is typically minor.
A scorpion uses its stingers on its tail to inject venom into prey, including insects and even its own kind. The venom of scorpions is neurotoxic and interacts with chloride ions which tell muscles to relax. According to research, scorpions can control how much venom they inject, and they use it to defend themselves as well as to hunt prey. Insects usually die as a result of scorpion stings, but humans do not experience nearly the same reaction.
Scorpion Sting Symptoms
The most common types of scorpions sting for a short amount of time and do not require any major treatment. In the US, there is one exception: Centruroides sculpturatus, also called the Arizona bark scorpion. Scorpion sting treatment may require life threatening treatments due to its venom. Symptoms of common stings usually subside within 48 hours, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and include:
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Respiratory depression
- Roving eyes
- Thick tongue sensation
- Stinging or burning sensations at the injection site (very little swelling or inflammation)
- Slurred speech
- Staggering gait
- Extreme pain when the sting site is tapped with a finger
- Muscle twitches
A person who experiences severe symptoms (convulsions, thick tongue sensation, difficulty breathing, etc.) needs medical treatment.