First Aid for Scorpion Sting - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

First Aid for Scorpion Sting

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 12 Feb 2016 - 14:59


Scorpion sting is a cutaneous (Relating to skin) condition usually resulting in pain and variable swelling. Scorpions hunt at night and during days they hide along rocks or trees. There are minimum 1,500 scorpion species and only 25 of them produce venom that causes serious harm to adults. 

In India, about 86 species of scorpions have been determined out of which two types are very poisonous namely; the small red Buthus tamulus and the large black Palamneus gravimanus. Among both, Buthus tamulus is more toxic. The Indian red scorpion (Mesobuthus tumulus) is the most dangerous amongst all poisonous species of scorpions in India with fatalities in children and adults. A study published in the Journal of Indian Medical Association, showed that about 3 to 22 percent children were reported being hospitalized for an occurrence of death due to scorpion stings in India.

Appearance: Scorpions are a member of the Arachnida class and are related to ticks, spiders and mites. They have a pair of four legs and a pair of pincers like a crab has. Some species are smaller, clear and may appear as a thin string on the ground.  Scorpions come in a variety of colors from tan to light brown to black. Each has a long tail segment that contains a stinger.

Venom Treatment: FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) authorized the first treatment particularly for the sting of the centruroides scorpion, which is the most common type of sting. Dr Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s center for biologics evaluation and research says, “The new biologic treatment –called Anacrop- was given a priority review, because adequate treatment did not exist in the United States. This product provides a new treatment for children and adults and is designed specifically for scorpion stings, which can be life-threatening, especially in infants and children.”

First aid for scorpion stings:

  • Firstly remove all the jewelry near the sting because swelling of tissue may block the circulation. For instance if a sting is on the finger, remove the ring surrounding it.
  • Clean the bite immediately with soap and water.
  • Apply cold compresses, normally about 10 minutes on and ten minutes off of the site of the scorpion bite to relieve pain and slow down the absorption of venom. This is very effective in the first 2 hours after the scorpion bite.
  • Calm the patient to lower the blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Take some pain killers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve pain. However, avoid taking Aspirin and Ibuprofen because they may lead to other problems
  • Antibiotics do not work here unless the sting area becomes infected
  • If symptoms are severe, you need immediate treatment in an emergency department.

Symptoms of a scorpion sting: Usually the sting causes discomfort that slowly reduces over time. The discomfort described below, normally ranges from moderate to severe.

  • Painful, tingling, burning or numbing sensation at the wound site
  • A thick tongue
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Accelerated heart rate or irregular heart beat
  • Restlessness
  • High blood pressure
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Muscle thrashing
  • Roving eye movements
  • Seizures



Reference:Indian Medical Association; Food and Drug Administration


*Disclaimer: This website serves as informational purpose only. The content on the DesiMD website, including text, graphics, images, etc., and other content on the DesiMD are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the DesiMD website. In case of a medical emergency, call your physician or the hospital immediately. DesiMD does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions or other information that may be mentioned on the site. Reliance on any information provided by DesiMD at the invitation of DesiMD, or other visitors to the site is solely at your own risk.