What to do in case of a scorpion bite?

Photo: petco.com
Scorpion stings are a rather rare occurrence in Bali, but they do happen. One of my acquaintances was stung by a scorpion when he put on a T-shirt that had been washed in a laundry and packed in plastic.
The scorpion was packed along with the T-shirts. My friend put on the shirt without checking and immediately felt a sharp pain. This happened on Gili Island, and he went to the nearest medical center with the scorpion still in the package. The scorpion turned out to be small and non-venomous. The doctor prescribed some tablets for a few days and reassured my friend:
"You have nothing to worry about. Yesterday, a pregnant woman came to me who was stung by a scorpion in the eye. And there were no problems!"
By the way, you can live in Bali for about 10 years and never see a live scorpion.
There are over 1,500 species of scorpions, and only 25% of them produce venom that can harm an adult human.
But of course, when stung by a scorpion, no matter how small or non-venomous it may be, you should not ignore it. So what should you do in this case and what happens when you are stung?
Common but not necessarily all symptoms may include:
- Burning pain at the sting site.
- Redness and swelling of the skin, blisters may appear.
- Numbness in the affected area.
- Muscle spasms.
- Abdominal pain, vomiting, and nausea.
- Dizziness.
- Excessive salivation.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Increased excitement or restlessness.
- Headache.
Note that not all of these symptoms may occur in your specific case, and their severity will depend on the size and venomousness of the scorpion.
What to do?
To neutralize the venom, it's necessary to apply heat to the affected area using a hot object. A heated metal spoon can be used for this purpose.
To alleviate pain, you can apply a cold compress; cold slows down the spread of venom, reduces swelling, and dulls pain. Apply cold for 10-15 minutes. This method works best within the first two hours after the sting.
Any antiseptics can be used to disinfect the wound: alcohol, vodka, hydrogen peroxide, betadine, rivanol, or even a soapy solution.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers. Ibuprofen, aspirin, or paracetamol are suitable. Ibuprofen and aspirin are more effective as they are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that help reduce swelling.
Do not allow the person to move the bitten area to prevent the venom from spreading more actively in the blood.
Try to catch the scorpion. Perhaps a doctor will be able to assess the danger of the particular species based on its appearance or photograph.
Call the assistance number provided in your insurance and describe the symptoms. If they are severe, the assistance will direct you to a hospital.
If you don't have insurance and experience symptoms other than pain and mild swelling, go to the nearest hospital or medical clinic.
Immediate medical attention is also needed if a child, elderly person, or someone with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions is stung.
What not to do if you are bitten by a scorpion?
Do not cut the sting site as it may cause bleeding or infection, and it won't remove the venom from the bloodstream.
Do not attempt to suck the venom from the wound. Doctors may try to extract the venom using a specialized device, but the effectiveness of such a method is not proven.
How to protect yourself?
Remember that warm and comfortable Bali is loved not only by tourists but also by diverse wildlife. We are constantly surrounded by various insects. Most of them are harmless and do not cause any problems, but not all of them.
Make it a habit to shake out and inspect your clothes from the inside before putting them on. Tap your sneakers or shoes against the floor and inspect your helmet before putting it on. These simple habits can serve you very well at some point.
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