Scorpions, found mostly in the western and especially the southwestern United States, are up to3 in. (7.6 cm) in length. They have eight legs and a pair of pincers like a crab has. The stinger, which injects venom, is located at the end of a narrow tail that curves around and over the back of the scorpion's body.
Although some scorpions are not poisonous, others have venom strong enough to kill a person. Some scorpions are found in cool, damp places, such as basements, junk piles, and wood piles. Other scorpions are found in desert areas. Symptoms of a scorpion sting may include:
Intense immediate pain lasting from minutes to 24 hours.
Swelling, itching, and a change in skin color.
Nausea and vomiting.
Anxiety, drowsiness, and fainting.
Increased saliva, tears, and sweat.
Numbness of the tongue.
Diarrhea or inability to control bowels.
If you have been stung by a scorpion, contact a doctor immediately. Medicine (antivenom) may be needed to counteract the effects of the scorpion sting.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine