Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico

Friday, July 18, 2014

What to Do in Case of a Scorpion Sting

I'm doing something that's typically very stupid. I was just stung by a scorpion and I'm here writing about it instead of going to the hospital.

I'm not suicidal. I already called the doctor and described the type of scorpion and the symptoms. The doctor told me to take an antihistamine, and look for certain symptoms. At any sight of the symptoms, I'm ready to take a taxi and go to the hospital. The type of scorpion that stung me (small and black) is not lethal to adults and it typically results in some fever and pain for a few hours.

Still, I have the taxi phone number ready.

Anyway, what to do in case of scorpion sting:

Scorpions are common in certain parts of Mexico, and you have to find out if the area that you're going to be in or live in has scorpions. Ask about the type of scorpion, the type of reaction, and what people do in case they get stung.

Also, get antihistamines and have them around. They can delay the reaction of the body to the poison and buy you extra, valuable time.

Finally, have a doctor's number nearby and find a hospital that's nearby. You may not be able to drive, so get the number of a taxi service that you can call 24/7. Obviously, it's much better if you know the name and address of a doctor or hospital nearby.

If you get stung, identify the color and size of the scorpion that stung you. The more clear it is (yellow or bright red) and the bigger it is, the more dangerous it is. Small black scorpions, the type that bit me, are the least dangerous.

Some people say that you have to capture the scorpion in order to show it to the doctor, but I find this approach impractical and might just get you stung again. Just stomp on the scorpion and then take the body to the doctor if you must.

Also, have some antihistamine. 25 gram pills will do for black scorpions, 50 for yellow ones.

If you were stung by a clear scorpion, go immediatley to a doctor. If you were stung by a black scorpion, it will probably not be an emergency, so you have more time to get help. Look for blocked throat, pain, or fever, in which case treat it as an emergency. If the affected person is a child or a senior citizen, treat it as an emergency.

Fortunately, in Mexico, emergency services aren't expensive. You'll end up paying around $50. If you go to a very expensive hospital, you may pay $200. Also, Mexican doctors have developed a very effective antidote against scorpion venom, since scorpion stings are not unheard of in certain parts of Mexico.


Robert Ervin is a freelancer who writes about healthcare, medical tourism, and living in Mexico.

If you're considering traveling to Mexico for healthcare or retiring in Mexico, you may want to  get yourself a copy of The English's Speaker's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico in order to find a good doctor or hospital in the main towns and cities of Mexico, or The English Speaker's Guide to Medical Care in Mexico, to understand how the Mexican healthcare system works.

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