Posts Tagged ‘scorpion stings’

An AZ Monsoon Staple: The Scorpion

July 22nd, 2013

In the Sonoran Desert monsoon = scorpion season.  We have more than 56 species of scorpions- but the bark scorpion is the biggie.  Since you live in the bark scorpion’s territory, you probably have them around or maybe even inside your home.  The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center and Banner Good Samaritan Poison & Drug Information Center answer thousands of calls every year about scorpion stings- last year they recorded 10,000 scorpion stings in AZ. 

Scorpion stings are super painful but usually don’t require special medical treatment. Washing the sting area and using a cool compress along with over the counter pain medication handles the injury. The pain and numbness can last several days.  Sometimes a scorpion sting causes severe symptoms that require fast and expert medical care. Symptoms to look for are difficulty breathing, uncontrolled jerking, drooling and wild eye movements.  Small kids are the highest risk group for severe reactions.  Each year there are about 200 kids in Arizona that need intensive medical treatment.   A recent study by the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center showed that 33% of scorpion stings happen in the bedroom, 24% in the living room, and 6% in bathroom. 

OK… but what should you do in scorpion season? Here are some simple precautions: 

  • For infants: move the crib away from the wall, and take off any crib skirts that reach to the floor;
  • Roll back bed linens and check for scorpions before getting into bed;
  • Shake clothes and shoes before putting them on;
  • Move furniture and beds away from the walls;
  • Wear shoes when outdoors, especially at night around swimming pools; and
  • Be especially careful of wet/damp towels in the bathroom and pool area. 

While scorpions get into your house, that’s not their natural habitat.  Their natural habitat is in your yard, in bushes, brick wall cracks and in landscaping like that loose brown stuff on palm trees.  Some people say that their scorpion problems are worse after people do yard work- which messes up the scorpions natural habitat.  The bottom line is that the monsoon is the harvest season for scorpions so stay on the lookout.

The Arizona Biomedical Research Commission Patent Factoid

September 1st, 2011

The ADHS’ Arizona Biomedical Research Commission has submitted over 66 patent requests worldwide, and has been granted 9 patents within the US in collaboration with ASU and the U of A. The Commission has 22 patent requests published or pending in 7 different countries. Many of the granted patents are anti-cancer compounds. The ABRC continues to collaborate with Arizona researchers to provide insight into diseases and work towards finding treatments and cures for these diseases. 

Last week the FDA approved Anascorp® which is an anti-venom partially funded by our Arizona Biomedical Research Commission. This anti-venom has been shown to help children recover from life-threatening, severe reactions due to scorpion stings. This antidote is produced in Mexico and clinical trials were conducted through the U of A.  This will likely be the next application for patent for an ABRC funded project.

Scorpions!

August 10th, 2011

Here in the Sonoran Desert monsoon season = scorpion season.  There are more than 56 species of scorpions in Arizona- but only one- the bark scorpion is of any public health significance.  The problem is that it’s the most common scorpion found in Arizona homes.  Since you live in the bark scorpion’s territory, you probably have them around or maybe even inside your home.  The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center and Banner Good Samaritan Poison & Drug Information Center answer thousands of calls every year about scorpion stings- and last year they recorded more than 10,000 scorpion stings in AZ.

Scorpion stings are super painful but usually don’t require special medical treatment. Washing the sting area and using a cool compress along with over the counter pain medication handles the injury. The pain and numbness can last several days.  But… sometimes a scorpion sting causes severe symptoms that require fast and expert medical care. Symptoms to look for are difficulty breathing, uncontrolled jerking, drooling and wild eye movements.  Small kids are the highest risk group for these more severe reactions.  Each year there are about 200 kids in Arizona end up needing intensive medical treatment.   A recent study by the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center showed that 33% of scorpion stings happen in the bedroom with 24% in the living room and 6% in bathroom.

OK… but what should you do in scorpion season? Here are some simple precautions:

  • To prevent scorpions from either climbing or falling into a baby’s crib- move the crib away from the wall, and take off any crib skirts that reach to the floor.
  • Roll back bed linens and check for scorpions before getting into bed.
  • Shake or examine all clothing and shoes before putting them on.
  • Move furniture and beds away from the walls.
  • Wear shoes when outdoors, especially at night around swimming pools.
  • Be especially careful of wet/damp towels in the bathroom and pool area.

We got some good news this week regarding scorpion sting treatment.  The FDA approved Anascorp® which is an antivenin produced in Mexico and tested in clinical trials conducted through the U of A for use in treating patients suffering the effects of scorpion stings.  Getting FDA approval took a lot of perseverance (12 years) partly because the antivenin process happens in Mexico… but it’s a good example of collaboration among academic and clinical researchers with partners in business and industry from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Our own Arizona Biomedical Research Commission provided some of the funding for this research (P.S. check out our new ABRC Website).  You can read more about the research that went into the approval in a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine.