SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Most scorpion stings in the United States cause only minor signs and symptoms, such as pain and warmth at the sting site. The venom of the bark scorpion, which is native to Arizona, New Mexico and the California side of the Colorado River, is more toxic and can be life-threatening, particularly in children.
Children who have been stung by a bark scorpion might experience:
- Pain, which can be intense, numbness and tingling in the area around the sting, but little or no swelling
- Muscle twitching or thrashing
- Unusual head, neck and eye movements
- Restlessness or excitability and sometimes inconsolable crying
Adults are more likely to experience:
- Rapid breathing
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle twitching
When to see a doctor
It's always best to be safe. If you or your child is stung, follow these guidelines:
- Get immediate medical care for any child stung by a scorpion.
- If you've been stung, get prompt care if you begin to experience widespread symptoms.
- If you're concerned about a scorpion sting — even if your reaction is minor — call your local poison control center for advice.
- Seek medical attention right away if you or your child is stung while traveling in another country.
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- 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.