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Health Issues

Scorpion Stings

Scorpions look like miniature lobsters. They have pincers and a long up-curved tail with a poisonous stinger. Several species of scorpions live in the southwestern United States, but only the bark scorpion poses a threat to humans.

Severe reactions to the sting of the bark scorpion are usually only seen in children. Some of these reactions are paralysis, spasms, or trouble breathing. The bark scorpion is pale tan in color. It is ¾ to 1 ¼ inches long, not including the tail.

What to Look For:

  • Pain in the area of the sting that gets worse in several minutes. Pain may travel up the limb that was stung. 

  • Mild swelling.

First Aid for Scorpion Stings: 

  • Call EMS.

  • Wash the sting site with soap and rinse with water. 

  • Cover the area with a cloth and apply ice or a cold pack to the sting site to reduce pain. (Always protect the skin by wrapping ice or a cold pack in a thin cloth. Direct contact of extreme cold on the skin can cause tissue damage.)

Last Updated
First Aid for Families (PedFACTs) (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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