14 Nov 2011

Scorpion antivenom, worth the cost?

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On the front page of the Arizona republic is an article titled “Scorpion drug’s stinging cost” by Ken Alltucker. In the article.  it talks about a scorpion antivenom that was approved by the federal government on August 3rd to be used to help protect vulnerable victims from the effects of a scorpion sting. Most people do not need the antivenom, but there is a small segment of the population that does. Mostly the elderly, children and those with allergic reactions can take the antivenom intravenously to quickly recover from severe reactions to a scorpions sting. The typical dosage is three to five vials to counteract the venomous sting. This antivenom has been used for years in Mexico, but just got approval by the FDA for use here in america. With Phoenix area hospitals charging as much as $12,467 per vial, this can be a very expensive proposition. Insurance companies may not cover the cost because most of the insurers are still trying to figure out a reasonable price for the drug. The bark scorpion is native to the valley and considered to be have one of the worst stings. Symptoms of a bark scorpion sting can include muscle twitching, slurred speech, involuntary eye movement and difficulty breathing. Severe reactions to a sting can require time in the hospitals intensive care unit with sedatives and a breathing machine. For those of us who have lived in the desert for any length of time, we know that scorpions can be hard to control. While there is no such thing as complete elimination, there are several thing you can do to help reduce your risk of being stung by a scorpion. Scorpions are not aggressive in the sense that they will not be hunting for you so they can attack you. Most people get stung because the scorpion is defending itself. For example, a scorpion will crawl into someones shoe for shelter and then sting the person when they go to put their shoe on. If you are working in the yard, wear gloves. Remove piles of leaves of other debris from around the house. Check around the doors and windows to make sure they are sealed tight. A good way to do this is to close the door and look for daylight around the edges, if you see daylight then there is a gap that needs to be sealed.  Do a “black light” search in the yard at night, their bodies light up like a neon sign and make it easier to find the areas where they congregate. Scorpions are predators and often like to eat crickets, reducing the number of crickets will also help. I often get calls from people who say ” I know you can’t kill scorpions, but…..”, while this might have been the case in the past it is not any more. There are effective chemicals that can be used to substantially reduce the the number of scorpions on your property. Scorpions can live for 6-10 years, so this is typically not a one time thing, regular service along with a tight clean house can help to reduce your risk of being stung. For more information you can contact me at APCO PEST 623-444-9530 or apcopest.com .


Alex Hewett


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