Scorpion stings are painful but rarely life-threatening. Young children, and sometimes the very old, are most at risk of serious complications.

In the United States, the bark scorpion, found mainly in the desert Southwest, is the only scorpion species with venom potent enough to cause severe symptoms. Worldwide, only about 30 of the estimated 1,500 species of scorpions produce venom toxic enough to be fatal. But with millions of scorpion stings occurring each year, often in areas with a lack of access to medical care, deaths due to scorpion stings are a significant public health problem in parts of Mexico, South America, North Africa, the Middle East and India.

Healthy adults usually don't need treatment for scorpion stings. But if a child is stung, the same amount of venom may have more-serious consequences, so seek immediate medical care.