Manic: Enjoying a dinner out with my husband and a phone call comes in from our teenage daughter telling us that she just got stung by a scorpion!
Managed: Thankfully our response, awesome advice from my wonderful mom-in-law and how well our girl took matters into her own hands and took care of the aftermath. Read on to see the details. You also won’t believe the actual sting moments story! I sure couldn’t! My girl is a rock!
But first, I must defend why we live here with scorpions and all!
If you live in Phoenix, chances are a scorpion sting could be in your future. Yikes! I know. But it comes with living in the desert and Arizona desert dwellers really like living in our pretty city. Here where I live, October through May is awesome with wonderful weather almost daily. I love that we live five minutes away from my favorite hiking trail. Our sunsets are stunning. The cost of living here is so much less than California and yet we can still enjoy all that Cali has to offer since our highway gets us there in a short five-hour drive or even shorter one-hour flight in the sky.
Even though a scorpion sting rudely interrupted our relaxing weekend, we still love living here. And as one friend put it, my girl is now a true Phoenician with a scorpion sting under her belt (gotta find humor in life to survive it)! So, since one of us has joined the unwanted club, I can now share our own personal scorpion sting experience. Unlike others and like some (the personal sting stories really vary I have found) our story wasn’t too bad, but it sure was crazy the way it happened. First the aftermath.
What We Did Right After Sting
Here is what happened and here is what we did, although I must admit that a little luck was mixed in with our quick response.
Even though we were on a date night and my girl is almost 17 and my son is almost 21, I ALWAYS keep my phone turned on and right by me since I am a Mama. Good thing. My girl’s voice on the other end of the unexpected phone call was shaky, but calm. As soon as I heard the words scorpion sting, I told the waiter to cancel my dinner and put my husband’s meal in a to-go box! We were out the door in a flash. Mama response! You bet!
As we drove home, I called my always wonderful mom-in-law (a nurse, too!) and she told us to follow these steps…
- My daughter should stay calm because stress can lead to a higher heart rate and thus spread the venom faster which may create more pain.
- My daughter should wash the sting right away to clean the wound and wash away any residual venom.
- She should then place an ice pack on the area for 10 minutes on and then 10 minutes off. Doing this the first hour after a sting is crucial as it slows down the spread of venom, decreases the pain and reduces swelling.
- Take Advil for pain and to reduce swelling.
- Watch for any signs of allergic reaction.
We did these five steps and I must give my girl credit as she did most of this on her own since we were on our way home. Proud of my independent, take-care-of-business girl!
I had also heard of a baking soda paste remedy, so when I got home, I mixed baking soda with water to make a paste. We covered the sting area with that and continued with the ice pack on and off every 10 minutes for two hours.
It is also a good idea to call poision control. Call 1-800-222-1222 to speak with a poison expert to determine if a hospital visit is needed. Sometimes that is exactly what must happen. In our case, that wasn’t needed.
We didn’t do that since our daughter is almost 17 and is an adult physically. We also didn’t do this since she was only stung one time and was not in distress or severe pain. If this happens to a baby or child or elderly adult, call poison control right away! If the person is showing an allergic reaction, call! It hurt my girl’s foot, but she was managing it. What really surprised me is how she managed what exactly happened. I would have freaked! Read on to be so surprised!
What Happened When She Was Stung
As I mentioned, she was home alone. She got up and walked towards the kitchen. Note: do NOT walk around barefoot in Phoenix, especially during the monsoon season. I had told her this, but you know how that goes. Teens don’t always want to take our advice. Sigh. But bless her heart with what happens next!
She says that she felt like she stepped on a thorn. Ouch! But when she looked down, she didn’t see anything. With the pain not subsiding, she figured it was a scorpion sting. Arizona kids know since most have heard scorpion sting stories in their desert life. She couldn’t find the &*#[email protected] pest, so she went to the guest bathroom to wash her foot. To her horror, as she propped her leg up to wash her foot, she spotted the scorpion hanging out on her pant leg!!! I would have freaked out, yelled and probably been stung multiple times! He was just riding along with her!
But my mature little lady stayed calm, walked slowly towards the stairs and found an item (don’t remember what she told me she used) to flick it off. The fact that it didn’t sting her again is beyond me. That is the luck part I mentioned earlier. She sure deserved that luck after her summer antibiotic-resistant ear infection that put her in the children’s hospital! Again, bless her heart! And now her foot!
Fortunately, her leg didn’t need to be blessed!
Unfortunately, she was unable to locate and kill the evil scorpion.
Fortunately, I could NOT go to bed that night until I found him. One thing about scorpions is that they can usually be found as they don’t see well and are slow until they feel threatened. They are usually not aggresive unless provoked.
I found him, smashed him with my shoe and declared victory!
I lifted the shoe and he was NOT there! So I woke (or I should say YELLED for) my husband and he came down, found the evil pest and then was sure to smash it to smithereens.
Oh my! What an experience!
To our very pleasant surprise, our girl was fine by noon the next day and she even exercised! She was stung once on the thick pad part of the back of her foot, so I think that helped. It helped that she was only one stung once and in that particular area. I think anyway. Or just more luck maybe.
So fellow Phoenicians, do have a scorpion response plan. Use an exterminator. If you see crickets, for sure call the exterminators. Crickets are a scorpion’s food source, so they go where the crickets roam.
Even though we live right by the mountains, we rarely see scorpions because we have four expert hunters. I have found dead and disabled scorpions in the past that these guys got. Cats know to be careful with their prey. Somehow, they missed this guy this time. It is OK, my cute gang of hunters. I forgive you, our fab four felines. Next time, right guys?! I don’t know if scorpion stings hurt cats. Ours have been fine through the years.
With the overly active monsoon season we are having, the crickets and scorpions are out in force. Be aware.
My next step is to call a company called Scorpion Sweepers who will come out and investigate, remove and treat for a scorpion infestion with a black light at night. The company goes around the outside of the home and also seals outdoor entry points. So I will be making that call today. I will keep you posted on how that goes.
In the meantime, we are so lucky that our girl was only stung once, handled it, stayed calm and has a high tolerance for pain. She truly does and she has proved this in the past, especially this summer.
Do remember to call poison control if this happens to you or to your family and to watch for allergic signs. Also call if it is multiple stings. Sometimes the ER has to be visited to receive an anti-venom med, but most of time that is not the case. So thankful that ours ended up being a surprisingly simple scorpion sting. Sure hoping this is it for us!
Also several of my readers (thanks Suzanne and Val) shared a great tip about capturing scorpions with a duct tape broom stick…you can read exactly how to do it in Suzanne’s comments below this article. She says that if the scorpion is carrying babies, stepping on it will cause the babies to scatter and that would be a lot of potent little scorpions all around. Ugh! Use the duct taped broom stick to dispose of scorpions (place duct tape with sticky side facing out and attach it to the handle of a broom) by sticking the pest to the tape and then throwing it away. So I am on my way out later to buy two extra broom sticks and some duct tape!
Signed a 24-hour-shoe-wearing-Phoenix-dwelling-blogger!
Just an FYI the best way to dispose of scorpions are to get duct tape with sticky side facing out and attach it to the handle of a broom or other long object. Find the scorpion and stick it to the tape and then throw it away. NEVER step on a scorpion because if it is carrying babies (pregnant) when you step on it the babies will scatter due to the fact they spend 10-20 days on the mother’s back and yes that means many, many baby scorpions as many as 100!! I am in that small percentage of people who is so allergic to scorpions that a bite can cause life threatening reaction know as anaphylaxis .Currently there is known cure for a scorpion allergy so i have to be very careful not to get stung.
I have heard that Suzanne! I am going to add this to my article and go purchase several extra brooms! I had done this with a hockey stick in the past (and I even showed that in one of my 3TV segments), but I think a broom may work better. So sorry to hear you have this allergy. You do have to be careful. I am assuming you have an Epipen? Not sure if that helps or not. Thanks for leaving this very helpful comment!
Thank you for sharing this. So far my family has been fortunate with no scorpion stings and I won’t walk around without shoes. But there’s a first for everything and now I’ll know what to do if it ever happens!
I sure hope you don’t have that first. I haven’t been stung yet either (knock on wood)…and I do say yet as it may happen sometime. I always wear my shoes! Good luck to us!