Saturday, March 17, 2012

How to avoid, treat scorpion stings on a hike

Most scorpions are not dangerous.
Photo courtesy of Illinois DNR.
Fortunately, in North America only two varieties of scorpions are deadly, and both live in the Arizona desert. Even if not dangerous, a scorpion’s sting will be painful.

You can avoid a scorpion sting by not sticking hands into dark holes and rocky crevices and not turning over rocks, all of which could be homes for these little arthropods.

If stung, you’ll feel instant pain or burning, numbness and tingling, and the bitten area will be sensitive to touch.

Treatment includes washing the stung area with soap and water then applying a cold compress it. You also should elevate a stung limb above heart level. Always bring a young child stung by a scorpion to the emergency room. For older teens, if reactions in addition to those previously listed appear, then bring them as well to the ER.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.