Bites and Stings

During summer, snakes, scorpions and bees emerge from their nests, burrows and hiding places.

Snakes

  • If you see a snake, leave it alone. The farther away you are, the less likely you are to get bitten.
  • Make lots of noise and step on top of rocks and logs while walking or hiking to scare a snake out of your path.
  • If you see a snake, and you know it's poisonous, contact your local fire department or animal control to have it removed. Don't try to kill it or remove it yourself.

If a snake bites you:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately or seek medical attention.
  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Keep the bite area below the level of the heart.

Scorpions

Scorpions in Arizona range from those with merely painful stings to the smaller bark scorpion, a tiny terror that can produce neurotoxicity, especially in a small child. Neurotoxicity can cause symptoms ranging from localized numbness to life-threatening problems such as breathing difficulty.

To avoid scorpion stings:

  • Shake out your shoes, clothes and towels and clothes before wearing or using them.
  • Try to eliminate scorpions' food source to keep them out of your home. Scorpions are immune to most pesticides, but getting rid of crickets and other small insects will decrease the presence of scorpions.
  • Bring a black light while camping or in the wilderness. Scorpions glow under UV light so you can see where they're hiding.

If you're stung by a scorpion:

  • Wash the sting area with soap and water.
  • Apply an ice pack. This will slow down the venom moving through the body.
  • Call Arizona Poison Center (800-222-1222) for advice on how to handle the sting. If your symptoms are severe, go to the Emergency Department. HonorHealth offers Anascorp, an antivenin treatment that can reverse the symptoms of a scorpion sting within a few minutes.
  • Take younger children and the elderly directly to the Emergency Department. They're at higher risk of the sting becoming more life-threatening.

Bees

To avoid being stung:

  • Avoid fragrances, including hair spray, scented soaps, lotions and oils.
  • Don't wear brightly colored clothing, particularly floral patterns — don't look like a flower patch.
  • Be very careful with food. Soda cans are notorious: Bees climb in unobserved and are frightened into stinging as you take a sip.
  • If a bee lands on you, be still. Try blowing on it to encourage it to leave without startling it.
  • Wear a hat. Bees have been proven to have a lower threshold for stinging people with hats.

If you're stung by a bee:

  • Remove the stinger as fast as possible. Use a credit card or driver's license to gently scrape the stinger out of your skin. Grabbing or squeezing the stinger pushes more venom into your skin.
  • Apply ice to decrease pain and swelling.
  • Watch for inflammation or a reaction. If a noticeable reaction lasts more than few days, seek medical attention.
  • If you're allergic to bees or begin to have difficulty breathing, experience tongue or lip swelling, dizziness or feel lightheaded (signs of anaphylactic reaction), seek immediate medical attention.
  • If you see someone attacked by bees, call 9-1-1 immediately. Advise the person to seek shelter in a building or vehicle.
  • If you're being attacked by bees, cover your face with your hands and run from the bees. In most cases, you can outrun them. Find shelter in a building or vehicle. Avoid plunging into a swimming pool. Bees will wait for you to surface and attack again.
  • If you're stung several times, seek medical attention. Dizziness, difficulty breathing or lips and nails turning blue could indicate an allergic reaction.