Have you ever heard that “an untroubled scorpion troubles no one?” Well this saying by Paolo Bacigalupi is very true and has been scientifically proven. The 1500 species of scorpions roaming the earth are happy to go about their business but they will sting you when threatened. Despite the truth behind the above statement the prevalence of scorpion bites in the United States is at one million stings annually and subsequent deaths are reported following these stings making scorpion stings a public health concern especially in places where medical care is unavailable.
Thirty out of the 1500 species of scorpions are venomous and their venom can be fatal even in adults. In the United States scorpions like the bark scorpion are known to cause severe reactions from their venom. Children and the elderly are the most susceptible to fatally succumb to scorpion stings.
Anatomy of a scorpion sting
Health care providers in areas with prevalent scorpion stings make available the symptoms of a scorpion sting that should give you concern.
Immediately after the sting one feels excruciating pain that can be debilitating. The pain is extreme and it begins instantaneously escalating to swelling and localized redness. This is quickly followed by a tingling sensation in the sting site and numbness. The area will also become very warm. These are the initial symptoms that should remain mild to moderate in intensity and then begin dissipate when is treated with basic first aid.
These symptoms begin to manifest when the venom begins to spread widely systematically into the body of the stung person. They include
- Difficulty in breathing
- Profuse sweating
- Uncoordinated eye, neck and head movements that typically look like hard jerks
- Muscle spasm with a lot of twitching
- Thrashing about of the limbs
- Increased cardiac activity
- Very high blood pressure
Notice that they look a lot like the symptoms of an anaphylactic shock but they can be more severe and they set in faster. But just like with bees and wasps it is possible for people who have been stung by a scorpion before to have an even more intense allergic reaction with a subsequent bite. The neurotoxins in the venom of the scorpion wreak havoc on the nervous system of the victim.
Why does a scorpion sting
The scorpion stinger is in the tail. The tail will rise up before it delivers the sting so one should look out for these telltale signs that the scorpion is about to sting. However, it is important to note that the scorpion will resist stinging you unless threatened like when they see a foot about to crush them. To avoid being a casualty of the scorpion sting make sure you check your clothes especially boots when travelling out in the wilderness. Also check the camp areas to make sure they are not hiding there. Bark scorpions live under logs, rocks and on tree barks.
Their natural habitat is the desert areas but they are prolific hitch hikers so check your luggage and camping gear when you travel around the world and camp outdoors.