Scorpions and Centipedes
Scorpion: What is it?
Scorpions are venomous arthropods considered relatives of the spiders, mites, ticks and harvestmen. There are approximately 1,300 species of scorpions worldwide, characterized by an elongated body and a segmented tail that is tipped with a venomous stinger.
see more info about the scorpion here
Where are they found?
Scorpions occur naturally in South, West and North Africa; North, Central and South America; India; and the Caribbean.
Are they dangerous?
Basically, it depends on location, but most varieties of North American scorpions are nonpoisonous. The poisonous ones in the U.S. live mainly in the southwestern deserts.
20 others worldwide have venom potent enough to be considered dangerous to humans. Medline
What happens when scorpions sting?
Scorpions sting with a poisoned hook on their tail, which is typically raised prior to an attack. Most cases in the United States are not serious, especially in children over 6 years old. However, these are signs and symptoms to look for to confirm the level of seriousness:
Immediate and intense, burning pain at the sting site that lasts about 30 minutes.
Mild inflammation may be present, with the sting mark not always visible.
Minor tingling at sight of sting
This information can be found at Medline
When do people get stung?
How can I avoid being stung?
When in a scorpion-populated area you should:
Wear protective footwear especially at night.
Exercise caution when lifting rocks, logs and when collecting firewood.
Do not handle scorpions with bare hands.
When camping try not to sleep directly on the ground.
Shake out footwear, clothing and bedding.
Learn how to distinguish a highly venomous scorpion from a harmless one and the area they occur in.
Information from museums.org
Centipede: What is it?
Centipedes are reddish-brown, flattened, elongated arthropods with one pair of legs attached on most of their body segments. The first pair of legs is modified into poisonous jaws to kill insects.
Centipedes feed on live insects and other small animals.
see more info and pictures here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centipede
Where are they found?
Species of Scolopendra, occur widely in the southern United States and other areas with warm climates worldwide.
The smaller house centipede, is common throughout the United States (and is harmless).
Are they dangerous?
The only dangerous centipedes are the giant centipedes of the genus Scolopendra found in the southwestern United States.
No fatality due to a centipede sting has ever been reported in the United States.
How to avoid stings:
They prefer dark damp environments, such as undersurfaces of rocks and logs, be careful when handling these objects
Be more careful at night as centipedes are nocturnal
Shake out shoes, clothes and check bedding before using.
What happens when centipedes sting?
See http://www.wemjournal.org/wmsonline/ bottom of page for images of actual sting
persist for more than 48 hours)
• pain in the area of bite
• swelling in the area of bite
• possible lymph node swelling
• redness in the area of bite
medline.com and merck.com
More serious cases
Treatment for Scorpions and Centipedes:
ice for cold compress
washcloth to put ice in
* if ice not available, cold water on a washcloth/ paper towel is acceptable
antihistamine, such as Benadryl (optional)
Medline and ehow.com
Do's and Don'ts of sting treatment
Put on medical gloves, precautionary measure
Clean the wound with antiseptic cleanser
Apply a cold compress (preferably ice wrapped in a washcloth) to the site of the sting
After 10 minutes remove compress for 10 minutes
Repeat the process of on for 10 minutes and off for 10 minutes (for as long as pain persists)
Immobilize the affected area
Keep victim calm and still
Administer an antihistamine such as Benadryl to reduce swelling and itching. (OPTIONAL)
Look for signs and symptoms of a serious case
Try to identify the type of scorpion
If it is a serious case (including heavy sweating, difficulty breathing and swallowing) get victim to a hospital ASAP
Monitor cardiac and respiratory functions and treat as required (ABC's)
Anti-venom must only be administered in the case of severe systemic envenomation...and ONLY by a doctor
Envenomation of the eyes must be flushed with water or any bland fluid (milk, urine).
Medline, museums.org and ehow.com
Do not use traditional remedies such as incisions, suction, tourniquet or the application of ointments.
Do not use alcohol as it will only mask any symptoms
Do not administer anti-venom if no signs or symptoms of severe envenomation presents itself
Do not administer spider or snake anti-venom.
Do not administer barbiturates, opiates, morphine or morphine derivatives as this could greatly increase convulsions and cause respiratory distress.
Treatment Fact and Fiction: Does this just seem like a good idea?
Slash the site of sting to let the venom flow out.
Fact: Sounds effective but it is not. DO NOT slash yourself. You put yourself at risk of secondary infection by bacteria. This can be way worse than the effect of the toxin. Also blood loss will probably worsen your condition
Fiction: Amputate the limb.
Fact: Only works in movies. Actual effectiveness is very questionable. Unless you can find a huge chopper in the first 30 seconds and decisively amputate your limb, it is futile. You are more likely die from blood loss than any known scorpion stings.
Fiction: Drink alcohol
Fact: The alcohol which is a barbiturate does help ease the pain and anxiety in sufficient quantity. However, alcohol speeds up blood flow and probably hastens the venom spread. Also alcohol needs to be detoxified by the liver and this competes with detoxification of venom. This may further increase the long biological half life of scorpion toxin. Other than that alcohol which is a depressant may increase the effect of some toxins. Finally, alcohol may mask any symptoms that exist, preventing proper treatment.
Fiction: Tie a tourniquet
Fact: Recent studies shows that the tourniquet applied at the proximal site when released for short interval increase the blood flow many fold and this means that the venom spread may instead be hasten. Applied for too long, you basically lose the limb being tied due to lack of blood to it. Applied at wrong site cause more harm than good and even when applied properly, it is not very useful.
Fiction: Give strong narcotics
Fact: NO. Morphine and opium has been used to 'treat' scorpion stings. They are powerful pain relievers which reduce the intense pain caused by scorpion stings. Do not use them even for symptomatic relief. They also cause respiratory depression and this increases the effect of neurotoxin. Probably many deaths each year are directly or indirectly caused by this treatment rather than the scorpion venom.
Fiction: Drink lots and lots of water
Fact: Some people claim that drinking water helps flush the system of the venom. Drinking water probably does temporarily dilute the venom but it increases the load on the kidney. Kidney is pivotal to elimination and some metabolism of toxin so increasing its load may not be such a great idea.
Fiction: Suck the venom out.
Fact: A rather dangerous act for the one attempting. If it's successful, the venom may enter the rescuer through ulcers in mouth, esophagus, stomach or even intestine. Many may not be aware of ulcers in stomach and esophagus. This results in two victims instead of one and the rescuer would be of more use calling for help. In any case, it is quite unlikely to suck out much, if any, venom this way. More probably, one will be just sucking another's blood if done strongly enough. This also increases the risk of infection as mouth has one of the most bacteria in the body.
Fiction: Use the hemolymph of
Fact: Scorpions are known to be quite resistant to their own venom. Some kill the scorpion and apply the scorpion's fluid into the site of sting thinking that it will neutralize the venom. On its own, the hemolymph (or bluish blood) of the scorpion is known to be slightly toxic in the test with mice and rabbits. However, the hemolymph seems to have slight beneficial effect when applied to envenomed individuals in a controlled environment. The danger of this treatment is the increased chance of developing allergy as the hemolymph is also a foreign substance.
26. Which of the following statements about sting treatment is appropriate?
a. Slash the site of the sting and giving an antihistamine
b. Tie a tourniquet above the sting site
c. Suck the venom out
d. Applying ice and bandaging the wound
27. According to the linked picture of a centipede, where does its claw come from?
a. The first thoracic segment
b. The last thoracic segment
c. The fourth pair of legs
d. It has no claw
28. Which of the following is NOT a proper treatment method of a scorpion or centipede sting?
a. Apply a cold compress
b. Keep victim still
c. Alternate cold compress and hot compress
d. Monitor ABC’s
29. Suppose you are in the back yard with your mom and your younger brother, and both are stung by a scorpion. What do you do first?
a. Give your mother a Benadryl
b. Give your brother a Benadryl
c. Apply a cold compress to your mother’s sting
d. Disinfect your brother’s sting
30. Which of these is NOT a symptom of a serious reaction to a scorpion sting?
a. Red subdural streaks radiating from the site
b. Muscular spasms
c. Double vision
d. Irregular heart beat
31. Mark answer A
32. Which is a normal reaction to a centipede sting?
a. Extreme dizziness
b. Swelling around the bite
c. Rapid pulse
d. Difficulty breathing
33. Of the following situations, who is at the most risk of death?
a. Five year old stung by a scorpion in the Arizona desert
b. 10 year old stung by a centipede
c. Teenager stung by a large centipede
d. 30 year old stung by a scorpion in her home in Texas
34. What is a common precaution for both scorpion and centipede stings?
a. Wear protective footwear
b. Careful when lifting rocks and logs
c. Do not sleep directly on ground when camping
d. Always carry a flashlight
35. Which of the following is a treatment only to be provided by a doctor?
a. Giving victim alcohol
b. Disinfecting and cleaning the wound
c. Providing an antihistamine
d. Administering anti-venom