A typical scorpions is elongated, has pincherlike claws (pedipalps), at the anterior end of the body; four pairs of walking legs; and a distinctly regimented abdomen that tapers to a curved, hollow, needlelike stinger.

This needlike stinger is used as a tool for defense when provoked. Both the female and male can sting. The venom is injected through the stinger from two venom glands in the abdomen. Most scorpions' venom are unable to penetrate human skin or inject enough venom to cause vatal damage. However, few species can inflict painful wounds that leads to death.

Photo: Orange scorpion on a rock

Clinical Syndromes:

The consequences of the scorpion's sting are dependent on various factors such as its species, age of scorpion, kind and amount of venom injected, victim's age, size and sensitivity. Scorpions produce two types of  venom: a neurotoxin and hemorrhagic or hexolytic toxin.

  • Hexolytic toxin: It is responsible for local reactions at the place the victim was stung which includes radiating, burning pain, swelling, discolouration.
  • Neurotoxin: It produces minimal local reaction but has quite severe systemic effects such as chills, excessive salivation, difficulty in speaking and swallowing or death.

Treatment, Prevention and Control:

  • Local cryotheraphy  may reduce swelling and retard the systemically and thus contraindicated.
  • In the absence of systemic symptoms palliative treatment (Palliation cloaks a disease) is conducted.
  • Preventive measures include the usage of chemical pesticides to reduce scopion population. removal of debris around dwellings can reduce hiding and breeding places.


To be able to diagnose a scorpion sting, not only is physical evidence required, but also local and systemic symptoms. Although scorpions are easy to identify, there are also other arachnids that do resemble scorpions therefore extra caution is need when identifying them.