Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Certain factors can increase your risk of a scorpion sting:
- Location. In the United States, scorpions mainly inhabit the desert Southwest, particularly Arizona. Worldwide, they're found most often in Mexico, northern and southern Africa, South America, the Middle East and India. Scorpions are adaptable, and they've also been discovered in the Himalayas and Hawaii.
- Environment. Bark scorpions live under rocks, logs and tree bark — hence, the name — and you're especially likely to encounter them when you're hiking or camping. But they're also the most common house scorpion, hiding in firewood, garbage pails, bed linen and shoes.
- Season. Scorpions are most active in spring and summer, when nighttime temperatures hover above 70 F (21 C).
- Travel. Not only are you more likely to encounter dangerous scorpions while traveling in developing countries, you might bring them home with you. Scorpions can hide in clothing, luggage and shipping containers.
- American Association of Poison Control Centers. 2008 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' national poison data system (NPDS). Clinical Toxicology. 2009;47:911. http://www.aapcc.org/dnn/Portals/0/2008annualreport.pdf. Accessed Sept. 21, 2010.
- Suchard JR. Scorpion envenomation. In: Auerbach PS. Wilderness Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/219470238-2/1055986458/1483/419.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-03228-5..50052-5_2506. Accessed Sept. 20, 2010.
- Gouge DH, et al. Scorpions. The University of Arizona. http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/insects/az1223. Accessed Sept. 20, 2010.
- Scorpion stings. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec21/ch325/ch325h.html. Accessed Sept. 20, 2010.
- Chippaux JP, et al. Epidemiology of scorpionism: A global appraisal. Acta Tropica. 2008;107:71.
- Animal-associated hazards. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-2/animal-associated-hazards.aspx. Accessed Sept. 20, 2010.
- Boyer LV, et al. Antivenom for critically ill children with neurotoxicity from scorpion stings. New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;360:2090.
- What to do in a medical emergency: Bites and stings. American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default.aspx?id=210#spider_bites_and_scorpion_stings. Accessed Sept. 20, 2010.
- FDA approves the first specific treatment for scorpion stings. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm266611.htm. Accessed Aug. 4, 2011.