Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

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 drugs through a vein (intravenously) to treat pain.

Scorpion antivenom may be given to children to prevent the development of symptoms. Adults with severe symptoms also may be given antivenom.

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. This may help reduce pain.
  • 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 vaccination records to be sure a tetanus vaccine is up to date.

Mayo Clinic Minute: Rattlesnakes, scorpions and other desert dangers

Visiting the desert southwest can be a beautiful and wonderful experience. But some dangers may be lurking. The western diamondback rattlesnake is one of the creatures visitors should be on the lookout for.

"The most important thing to do is to avoid the rattlesnake."

Dr. Steven Maher, an emergency department physician, explains what you should do if you are bitten.

"The most important thing is what not to do. You don't want to try and suck out the venom, or try and cut. The best thing to do is try and immobilize the area, and seek medical treatment right away."

A creature to look out for is the scorpion. Each person reacts differently to the sting, and symptoms can vary from severe pain to blurred vision.

"If you're concerned at all, talk to your local poison center. And if symptoms are severe, get help right away."

But the greatest danger is not an animal or bugs, but lack of water. Stay hydrated. Dr. Maher suggests hiking early in the morning and bringing plenty of water when exploring.

"If you're going to be outside, it's very important to bring water with you and a lot of it."

Sept. 06, 2019
References
  1. Lovecchio F. Scorpion envenomation causing neuromuscular toxicity (United States, Mexico, Central America, and Southern Africa). https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed July 31, 2019.
  2. Auerbach PS, et al. Scorpion envenomation. In: Auerbach's Wilderness Medicine. 7th ed. Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 26, 2019.
  3. Scorpions of the desert Southwest United States. Cooperative Extension. University of Arizona. https://extension.arizona.edu/pubs/scorpions-desert-southwest-united-states. Accessed Aug. 28, 2019.
  4. Antidote relieves scorpion stings. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/antidote-relieves-scorpion-stings. Accessed July 18, 2016.
  5. Bites and stings. American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/emergency-101/bites-and-stings/. Accessed Aug. 1, 2019.
  6. Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Aug. 7, 2019.
  7. Isbister GK, et al. Scorpion envenomation. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014; doi:10.1056/NEJMra1401108.
  8. Megarbane B, et al. Scorpion envenomation. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014; doi:10.1056/NEJMc1410354.