Creepy crawlies surface: Heat, monsoonal activity increase scorpion activity
Experts say the rise in temperature during the summer combined with heavy rains from the monsoon also brings a surge of scorpion stings as they seek food, shelter and mates.
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Monsoon season brings showers and thunderstorms to the Southwest. But for Arizona, it's also bringing scorpions to the surface.
Experts say the rise in temperatures during the summer also brings a surge of scorpion stings as they seek food, shelter and mates. June, July, August and September are the busiest call volume months for scorpion stings at the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center in Arizona.
In 2021, the two poison centers in Arizona managed almost 5,500 scorpion stings and 260 rattlesnake bites. So far in 2022, the centers have managed 1,888 scorpion stings and 85 rattlesnake bites.
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Arizona is home to the most extensive variety of venomous rattlesnake, scorpion, spider, centipede and lizard species in the U.S. It has about 50 species of scorpion throughout the state.
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"We're only worried about one particular species of scorpion whose venom is potent enough to cause some serious symptoms, and that's the Arizona bark scorpion," said Dr. Bryan Kuhn, pharmacist and education specialist at the poison center.
They are often found in the lower elevations of the state in the wild area near water sources but certainly around homes.
"You'll find them at the basis of brick walls, in between cracks of concrete patios or sidewalks and around the pool," Kuhn said.
Unfortunately, many children are bitten or stung every year. Children are also at a greater risk for severe effects. A little over a dozen pediatric cases of rattlesnake bites and thousands of scorpion stings are reported annually in the state, according to the center.
"For most adults, the sting is actually not that problematic from a healthcare standpoint," Kuhn said.
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Symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling, but for the most part, adults don't ever need to go into an emergency department, Kuhn adds.
"It's typically patients on the extremes of age. So the very young, less than 6 years old, and adults over 65 or 70 that tend to have those symptoms and be a bit more severe," Kuhn said.
Doctors advise people to call the poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222 to assist in the evaluation and management and help determine if it is necessary to seek additional medical attention.