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Lakeside Scorpions - It is that time of year again

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Post by Dr. Sam Thelin on Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:54 pm

Scorpions are not usually anyone's favorite insect. They are usually very feared because of their sting which can cause extreme pain, some pain, or in some cases, death. What happens is determined by the scorpion species, the body mass of the victim, the amount of venom injected, and the individual person.

In the lakeside area, there are two families of scorpions – Buthidae and Vaejovindae. The genus of Buthidae in Mexico are called Centruroides, and northern Mexico has some dangerous ones. Lakeside, you there are less dangerous species such as centruroides infamatus or centruroides elegans. The other family here is Vaejovindae, and its many species of the genus vaejovis. Most people cannot identify local scorpions because they have more similarities than differences. However, generally the more poisonous scorpions have smaller pincers that have less muscle force, and require a more venomous toxin to kill its prey. The species of Centruroides found here have slightly smaller pincers than Vaejovis, and thus a stronger toxin. Fortunately, if you are stung here, statistics show it will probable be by a species of Vaejovis.
Lakeside Scorpions - It is that time of year again Vs11


How much poison is injected depends on the situation. A scorpion needs poison to defend itself and to kill its prey. Using all of it just to sting you is not in its own interest. If you just bump it, it will likely not sting with all its venom. If it is trapped in your pant leg, shoe, etc, it will sting to try to save its life, and may give you all it has. If it has already stung, it many not have had time to regenerate more toxin, and will not be dangerous.

Scorpion poison is a neurotoxin, and can work by either retarding inactivation (an α-toxin) or enhancing activation (a ß-toxin), both leading to spontaneous depolarization of excitable cells (nerves and muscles). Nerves are “short circuited” to send pain signals of a problem that does not really exist (there is no real skin burn, just the sensation). In small children, muscles can move in limbs, face and eyes from the action of the toxin on the nerves and muscles. Although the heart could be directly affected, this would be very rare from a scorpion here. Both sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are involved, so the person could have hypertension or hypotension, hypersalivation, or even priapism in severe cases. In most adults, important symptoms are from nerves controlling the mouth and throat. The most dangerous effects are those that inhibit the ability to breath, either by airway obstruction, or by respiratory failure. Allergy to the toxin is also a possibility, as is allergy to the anti-toxin. Symptoms are usually evident in the first 15 to 45 minutes, although rare atypical symptoms can be delayed as much 5 to 8 hours. Classic lakeside symptoms are extreme pain in the area stung, and clinically important cases will have an unusual sensation in the throat.
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There are many treatments, but few work. I have seen grease, garlic, bleach, etc. Pain medications (NSAIDS) are not very effective. Opioids could potentiate vomiting and respiratory depression. Antihistamines (very commonly used) will mask the symptoms. Local injection of anesthesia will resolve the some pain, but rarely done. If the symptoms include an unusual sensation in the throat, an anti-toxin called Faboteropico may be necessary. Faboteropico is a Mexican invention from 1994, and was finally approved by the FDA in 2011 http://www.bioclon.com.mx/bioclon/pdf/Anascorp_DB_study.pdf
http://www.bioclon.com.mx/bioclon/html/home_en.html
It is a purified and modified antibody treatment. It is widely available through the Secreteria de Salud. It is available locally at both the Chapala Cruz Roja and the Chapala Municipal Clinic. At this time, the Secreteria de Salud supplies it free of charge, but in the near future it may require the person to have Seguro Popular becuae the cost to the SSJ to supply it is in the millions.

To have scorpions in your house, you need two things – an entrance and food. Screens and door seals are important, as well and not having other insects in your house for them to eat.

Dr. Sam Thelin
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Post by Rosa Venus on Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:33 pm

Thanks for the info. How about a "What to do if you are stung" followup? I've heard "lay down, try to relax, breath....and maybe take an anti-hystamine". Then, if the reaction is severe, head to a clinic.

Time to spray for the little buggers. We generally get a few every year. Mostly I worry about our (very curious but not too bright) dog.
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Post by Dr. Sam Thelin on Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:48 pm

Rosa Venus wrote:Thanks for the info. How about a "What to do if you are stung" followup? I've heard "lay down, try to relax, breath....and maybe take an anti-hystamine". Then, if the reaction is severe, head to a clinic.

Time to spray for the little buggers. We generally get a few every year. Mostly I worry about our (very curious but not too bright) dog.

Many people take antihystamines, specifically cloropiramina (Avapena). It will mask (not resolve) the symptoms. If you are in the wild, with no doctors, clinics, etc. and the only hope you have is a Farmacia Guadalajara for the next 400 kilometers, you can try it. Unless you have uticaria (hives) or signs of an alergic reaction, it will do no good. Most people, and many doctors, associate the "closing" of the throat to an alergic reaction, when in reality it is usually caused by altering the control of cranial nerves 9,10, 11, and 12 that control the mouth and throat. However, if you take an antihystamine, then come to a clinic, you may have done more harm than good. In order to give Faboteropico, you need to have moderate to severe symptoms. If you mask the symptoms, and only have slight symptoms, you may not get the treatment you really need.

There is not much you can really do yourself. Putting ice packs indirectly on the area will lower the pain some, as well as very, very slightly retard the absorption of the toxin (by vasoconstriction).

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Post by Rosa Venus on Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:28 pm

Thanks for the followup. So it's pretty much sit tight and hope for the best. If things get really bad, go to a clinic.

Interesting that you mention hives. Our dog just broke out with severe hives/welts all over his body the other night, in the middle of the night. And now, it's as if he's afraid to go upstairs to sleep (where he normally did). He's happy to hide in his crate downstairs. Are hives a possible reaction/symptom for canines as well? Thanks.
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Post by Dr. Sam Thelin on Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:02 pm

Rosa Venus wrote:Thanks for the followup. So it's pretty much sit tight and hope for the best. If things get really bad, go to a clinic.

Interesting that you mention hives. Our dog just broke out with severe hives/welts all over his body the other night, in the middle of the night. And now, it's as if he's afraid to go upstairs to sleep (where he normally did). He's happy to hide in his crate downstairs. Are hives a possible reaction/symptom for canines as well? Thanks.

I would assume yes, but I have never seen it personally.

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Post by Jim W on Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:34 pm

I picked up a bite kit NOB, haven't seen them @ Lakeside. When I was stung last year, placed the suction end over the sting and removed some of the venom. The pain diminished rapidly, and the ice really helped.
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Post by slainte39 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:39 pm

Jim W wrote: The pain diminished rapidly, and the ice really helped.

Great advice Jim...same for a "gin and tonic(s)". lol!

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Post by tictoc on Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:55 am

Jim W wrote:I picked up a bite kit NOB, haven't seen them @ Lakeside. When I was stung last year, placed the suction end over the sting and removed some of the venom. The pain diminished rapidly, and the ice really helped.
Is this what you have?

Any thoughts Dr. Sam Thelin?

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Post by Jim W on Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:36 pm

tictoc wrote:
Jim W wrote:I picked up a bite kit NOB, haven't seen them @ Lakeside. When I was stung last year, placed the suction end over the sting and removed some of the venom. The pain diminished rapidly, and the ice really helped.
Is this what you have?

Any thoughts Dr. Sam Thelin?

Yes, however I am not sure which one till we return to Lakeside. The neat thing is they have different size nozzles, and you pull the plunger out place it over the bite and push down on it, so you can do it with one hand. Very Happy
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Post by Dr. Sam Thelin on Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:22 pm

tictoc wrote:
Jim W wrote:I picked up a bite kit NOB, haven't seen them @ Lakeside. When I was stung last year, placed the suction end over the sting and removed some of the venom. The pain diminished rapidly, and the ice really helped.
Is this what you have?

Any thoughts Dr. Sam Thelin?

I actually have that same device somewhere. I have had it for years, and never used it. I have my doubts about it working without a cut in the skin (not recommended) so the venom has a way out. Otherwise, it would be like pulling it back through a collapsed injection site. Also, what is already absorbed, will not return. I cannot say that it would not work, but if MY life was in the line, it would not be the first treatment I would use on myself.

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/168230-treatment

http://www.annemergmed.com/article/PIIS0196064403008138/abstract

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Post by Dr. Sam Thelin on Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:25 pm


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Post by tictoc on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:33 pm

Thanks. I had read that article on snake bites and am aware most medical professionals recommend against using it for snake bites. Although it seems not to have any adverse affects. I was just wondering your thoughts on Scorpion. I would imagine, having access to proper treatment methods, you would not find a need for it.

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Post by seisdedos on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:01 pm

Most people, the great majority in fact, have no need for medical attention for a scorpion sting.
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Post by Dr. Sam Thelin on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:14 pm

tictoc wrote:
Thanks. I had read that article on snake bites and am aware most medical professionals recommend against using it for snake bites. Although it seems not to have any adverse affects. I was just wondering your thoughts on Scorpion. I would imagine, having access to proper treatment methods, you would not find a need for it.

Either way, I personally see no harm in using it. Especially if that is all you have. I think the "dangers" of infection and tissue damage from using it are exagerated, and if they happen, would have likely happened anyway, even without using the extractor.

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Post by Dr. Sam Thelin on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:15 pm

seisdedos wrote:Most people, the great majority in fact, have no need for medical attention for a scorpion sting.

That is true. At least in this area.

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Post by Pedro on Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:30 pm

my understanding is that the small clear ones can whack ya harder than the bigger brown ones. in almost 7 years we've had less than 10 in the casa.
what we do continually have a massive crowd of are black widow spiders. from what i've heard,i'd rather get whacked by a scorpion then them babes.
fortunately they ain't aggressive and we whack them before they whack us
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Post by Jim W on Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:37 pm

Dr. Sam Thelin wrote:
seisdedos wrote:Most people, the great majority in fact, have no need for medical attention for a scorpion sting.

That is true. At least in this area.

As I understand it the scorpions in the Durango area are the worst in Mexico, as far as people requiring medical attention. Many people here go into the panic attack mode.
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