Poison centers across the nation are seeing a 20% increase in scorpion poisonings and scorpion stings and calls to their centers. As more people are working remotely and children schooling at home, there is an increased potential for poisoning accidents, including bites and stings.
“With the warmer weather we are experiencing in Arizona, and more people staying at home, scorpion stings have been on the rise,” said Maureen Roland, managing director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. “We’ve seen an 18% increase in calls to the Banner Poison Center and Drug Information Center by people who have been stung by a scorpion.”
There are more than 60 species of scorpions in Arizona, with the bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus) being the most common and the most dangerous. The bark scorpion sting is very painful and its venmon can produce numbness and tingling that can travel through the body. Severe stings may require a visit to the emergency room to receive the antivenom.
“Children under the age of six are more likely to develop severe symptoms,” said Roland. “Extra precaution should be taken to protect against and prevent scorpion stings. If you or someone you know has been stung, call the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center at 1-800-222-1222 right away to speak with a healthcare professional for treatment advice.”
Safety tips for keeping scorpions away include:
• Clear away debris, trash, logs, and bricks from the home and use regular pest control
• Seal cracks or other openings
• Scorpions like cool, moist areas – do not leave shoes, boots, clothing items or towels outdoors
• Wear shoes when outdoors, especially near the pool at night
• Teach children not to pick up bugs in or around the house
Warmer temperatures have also brought a rise in rattlesnake bites and bee stings. Roland advises to always be aware of your surroundings, look before you place your hand under or into something, and periodically examine the outside of your home.
If you or a loved one believe there has been exposure to any poison, medication or chemical, please call 1-800-222-1222. The poison centers can assist in next steps, including whether it’s necessary to seek additional medical attention.
More information on scorpion stings and prevention can be found at https://www.bannerhealth.com/services/poison-drug-information/desert-critters/bark-scorpions
The Poison and Drug Information Centers at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson, and at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, provide free and confidential poison and drug information to the public and health care professionals. The hotlines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The two centers serve all of Arizona and are part of 55 centers across the nation that are accredited by American Association of Poison Control Centers. Call 1-800-222-1222 from any location to reach the poison center nearest you.