We get a lot of questions about how dangerous scorpions are because of how common they are in a home. The answer is a little more complicated in that different people react differently to scorpion venom. Scorpions can vary in their venom potency and the severity of their stings. While most scorpion species are not highly dangerous to humans, some species have venom that can cause significant health effects, particularly in vulnerable individuals such as children, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems.
The danger posed by scorpions depends on various factors, including the species, size, health of the individual stung, and the amount of venom injected. Generally speaking, scorpion venom may cause symptoms such as localized pain, swelling, and redness at the site of the sting. More severe reactions can include numbness, tingling, muscle twitching, elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and in rare cases, convulsions or organ failure.
While fatalities resulting from scorpion stings are relatively uncommon, they can occur in regions where highly venomous scorpion species are prevalent and medical treatment is not readily available. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you are stung by a scorpion, especially if you experience severe symptoms or if you are unsure about the species involved. The United States has only one type of scorpion that is considered deadly to humans, which unfortunately for Tucson residents is the Arizona bark scorpion, which is most commonly found in the Southwest and specifically around Tucson. This is the only deadly scorpion present in the U.S.
Prevention, such as avoiding contact with scorpions and taking precautions to keep them out of your home, is the best approach to minimize the risk of being stung.
It’s a good idea to contact poison control once stung to seek immediate medical advice. They can help walk you through the potential severity of the sting based on the variety and number of stings and can advise you on whether or not you need to seek additional medical assistance.