Your history and symptoms are usually all your doctor needs to make a diagnosis. If you have severe symptoms, you may have blood or imaging tests to check for the effects of the venom on your liver, heart, lungs and other organs.
Most scorpion stings don't need medical treatment. But if symptoms are severe, you may need to receive care in a hospital. You may be given sedatives for muscle spasms and drugs through a vein (intravenously) to treat high blood pressure, agitation and pain.
The use of scorpion antivenom remains controversial because of concerns about effectiveness, side effects (more of a concern with older, less purified formulations), cost and access to care. Antivenom is most effective if given before symptoms develop, so children seen in remote rural emergency rooms, where access to medical centers and intensive care units is limited, are often treated with antivenom as a precaution. Also, if you have more-severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend the antivenom.
Your treatment will also depend on whether your doctor determines that your signs and symptoms are due to an allergic reaction rather than the effects of the venom.
Lifestyle and home remedies
If a scorpion stings you or your child, follow the suggestions below. Healthy adults may not need further treatment, and these tips can help keep children safe until they see a doctor:
- Clean the wound with mild soap and water.
- Apply a cool compress to the affected area for 10 minutes. Remove it for 10 minutes, then reapply it. This helps reduce pain and slow the venom's spread. This is most effective in the first two hours after a sting occurs.
- Don't consume food or liquids if you're having difficulty swallowing.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed. You might try ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Children's Motrin, others) to help ease discomfort.
Check your or your child's immunization records to be sure a tetanus vaccine is up to date.
Oct. 06, 2016
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