I finally had to endure one of the more unpleasant rights of passage anyone living in the tropics must face. I was stung by a scorpion this morning, twice.
When you choose to live in the tropics, in my case on the outskirts of Granada, Nicaragua, you accept the risk of encounters with disease transmitting bugs, venomous snakes and scorpions. Bugs we have plenty of in Canada, although only tick bites can pass on diseases. In some regions of Canada we even have rattlesnakes. However, we do not have scorpions.
Apparently the self appointed guard dog for the gated community I inhabit decided to drag away the doormat. I went to retrieve it and replace it at the terrace door where it belonged. I am always careful to shake out shoes and any item of clothing left on the floor. Up until now I’ve never seen anything more dangerous than a tiny centipede that secrets a gross liquid when touched. Birds find it to be every distasteful. This morning I let my guard down though, and sure enough a scorpion was hidden in the folds of the mat. While I replaced the mat the scorpion transfer to my Shorts, and preferring to be out of the sun it hide inside the right leg of my shorts. Feeling what I though was a bug on my leg I took a swat at it. The scorpion didn’t appreciate this much. I was first stung on the upper thigh. It felt like a wasp sting, only worse. My instant reaction was to grab at the source of the pain. Another action the scorpion did not appreciate, resulting in me getting stung on the left hand forefinger.
I got a good look at the scorpion, it’s the species in the accompanying photo. I did not kill it. I would have, but I was barefoot and didn’t relish the idea of stomping on it and suffering a third sting.
I immediately Googled “scorpion sting Nicaragua”. The usual symptoms are the ones I’m feeling now. First there was pain at the site of the stings. Probably ten times the pain of a bee sting. A numbness spreads from the sting. In the case of the finger, stung in the fold of the first joint from the hand, the numbness spread the length of the finger but only slightly up the hand itself. The pain in my leg was not accompanied by any noticeable numbing affect, although now I do feel a numbness in my right hand and the right side of my face. A bit dizzy as well. Neither my finger or leg swelled much and discoloration was minimal. Another symptom is numbness in the mouth. That I’m feeling too. It’s almost identical to the sensation felt when Novocain used by a dentist starts to dissipate. Tingly but numb.
The recommended treatment is to drink coffee. An easy treatment for me to follow any morning. I am on my third cup now and all seems to be in order.