More scorpion stings reported as temperatures rise

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by Kristine Harrington

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azfamily.com

Posted on August 23, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 24 at 10:36 AM

PHOENIX – With the hot weather, Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center is seeing an increase in scorpion stings.

They've had more than 70 phone calls within the last 24 hours from people looking for medical advice after being stung by the critters.

“We've had an unbelievable number of calls over the past few days,” said Dr. Frank Lovecchio, co-director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. “We've had three or four calls every hour for patients who are envenomated by scorpions in the Valley."
 
It seems as the mercury rises so do the number of scorpions and it's Ben Holland’s job with Scorpion Sweepers to go out and hunt them down with his ultraviolet light.
 
“We're finding a lot of scorpions," Holland said. "They are all over the place this year, much higher than last year. On a good night we'll get 10 to 15, on a slower night three to five.”
 
Scorpions are nocturnal but love the heat so these triple-digit temperatures in the dark can definitely bring the creepy crawlers out, creating an additional danger.
 
“We find them on the walls, we find them under people's potted plants, in their potted plants," Holland said. "They're all over the place -- under trash cans.”
 
While a scorpion sting is painful, doctors say most can be treated with Tylenol.

“The scorpion, when it envenomates you, it gives the same amount of venom if you are 300 pounds or 30 pounds,” Lovecchio said.
 
The sting is much more severe for babies.

“The neurological effects are quite dramatic," he said. "You might see the child move uncontrollably and scream uncontrollably."
 
He says your first call should be to the poison control center. Extreme cases, however, may require a trip to the hospital and a dose of anti-venom.
 
“The anti-venom is very dramatic,” Lovecchio said. “You see a child you might consider putting on a respirator to control their agitation and it turns out within one or two hours they go home.”
 
It’s been more than 15 years since someone in Arizona died from a scorpion sting. The little creatures can be lethal so if you are stung call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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