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.
Oct. 06, 2016
- LoVecchio F. Scorpion stings in the United States and Mexico. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 18, 2016.
- Bawaskar HS, et al. Scorpion sting update. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India. 2012;60:46.
- Scorpions. Arizona Cooperative Extension. University of Arizona. http://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1223.pdf. Accessed July 18, 2016.
- Antidote relieves scorpion stings. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. www.fda.gov/consumer. Accessed July 18, 2016.
- What to do in a medical emergency: Bites and stings. American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/Emergency-101/Emergencies-A-Z/Bites-and-Stings/. Accessed July 18, 2016.
- Marx JA, et al., eds. Venomous animal injuries. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 18, 2016.
- Markovchick VJ, et al. Bites and stings. In: Emergency Medicine Secrets. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016.
- Spiders and scorpions. Merck Veterinary Manual. http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/toxicology/venomous_arthropods/spiders_and_scorpions.html. Accessed July 18, 2016.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 31, 2016.
- Isbister GK, et al. Scorpion envenomation. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;371:457.
- Megarbane B, et al. Scorpion envenomation. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;371:1557.