Stung by a Scorpion

My True Life Experience With a Scorpion Sting

Stung by a Scorpion
Trish Keen, used with permission

This article was submitted by Cari, who was an active member of the Phoenix Forum. Cari lives in the northeast part of Phoenix. Her house is over 10 years old, in a fully developed area.

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It had been four days since my family and I moved into our new house. Everything was coming together nicely. The cable guy had finally come to hook up our TV and internet. Leaning on my husband’s chest while we were watching television, I felt something tickle my arm.

The Scorpion Sting

Then a second tickle and a brush of my arm--then suddenly, a sharp pain. I jumped up and yelled, as did my husband. I looked down and saw ... ”Is that a scorpion?” My husband confirmed it. I was screaming at him, asking him what we should do.

First Course of Action

The 9-1-1 operator told my husband that I was not in danger, and connected him to Banner Poison Control Center. They proceeded to tell us what may happen. They receive thousands of phone calls a year just from Arizona residents and visitors regarding scorpion stings. This list sums up the reactions I had to the scorpion sting, combined with what I now know from our friends at Banner Poison Control Center.

After the Scorpion Sting, I Experienced...

  • little bumps around the sting site
  • sharp pain up through my armpit
  • a feeling like your throat is closing (but it isn’t)
  • numbness pretty much anywhere. As the night progressed, my whole face was numb and I couldn’t focus on anything.
  • tingling, like when your foot falls asleep, but you can’t wake it up.

Scorpion Sting, Second Phase

After about six hours the problems and symptoms related to the scorpion sting started to dissipate. Twelve hours after being stung by the scorpion, I still had numb feet, hands, nose and ears. Those effects remained for a large part of the next day. My feet were the last to feel normal; soaking them in a spa helped. According to Banner Poison Control Center, some of the numbness can last several weeks.

Lessons Learned About Being Stung By a Scorpion

  • If your eyes start to twitch, then it’s time to head to the hospital.
  • If your child is stung by a scorpion, watch for hyperactivity, twitching eyes, and drool
  • Itching at the sting site a day or two later
  • Scorpion stings affect different people differently. For some, it just feels like a bad bee sting. Others (like me) may experience many symptoms.

A Day Later, and Beyond

Thankfully, 24 hours later, I really didn’t have any lingering effects from the scorpion sting. Well, except my phobia that now there are scorpions throughout my house. We had an exterminator come out the next day to spray. He found the scorpion that stung me, and disposed of him. The exterminator told us this area is not known for having lots of scorpions, but they can be found anywhere in the Valley of the Sun. They are solitary creatures and he didn't feel there would be many problems here as long as we had someone spray our house on a regular basis to kill the other bugs, which serve as scorpion food.

It has been about five days since the incident and I am still checking the cushions on my couch, the blankets on my bed, and my shoes. I pretty much wear shoes in the house all the time. My biggest fear is that a scorpion will sting my 3-year-old son. Not so much because I think he will die -- because now I know what to look for -- but more because I can’t imagine him having to feel like that for that long period of time. It was very painful and scary. It definitely has affected my quality of life here.

I was never phobic about any kind of bugs, and now I just can’t seem to relax in my own home without wondering if a scorpion is going to crawl on me. Hopefully, this feeling will fade with time; I really don’t want to feel this way for long.

Be Prepared For Scorpion Stings

Since we had just moved here, neither of us really had any real information about scorpions. We had mostly just heard they could kill you and where to go to get the antivenom. I wish we would have had more information so we wouldn’t have freaked out. My advice for all newcomers to Arizona: take some time to learn about scorpions, and teach your family members. Quick reactions, without panic, will help you deal with these nasty scorpions.

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Banner Poison Control Center 24-hour phone: 800-222-1222