(1997; 132 pages) [French] [Spanish]
Scorpions are endemic in the Americas, North Africa, Turkey and some parts of India. Their sting causes an immediate intense localized aching pain coupled with a burning sensation. Children are most commonly attacked and most seriously affected. Absorption of significant amounts of toxin results in vomiting and profuse sweating. Untreated, patients may experience an acute hypertensive crisis during which they are at risk of cardiac dysrhythmias, pulmonary oedema, or even death. In Trinidad, scorpion stings are the main cause of pancreatitis.
Prevention and management
Simple analgesics, including aspirin and paracetamol, help to relieve pain. However, because of the potential for severe reactions, every effort should be made to get the patient to a hospital as soon as possible. Vasodilators, administered in a hospital setting within 24 hours of the attack, may attenuate the cardiovascular response and possibly reduce mortality. In endemic areas, species-specific antiscorpion sera may be available locally and can be of value if administered within a few hours.