Scorpion bites put public on high alert in deserts

An alarming increase in scorpion bites at Al-Thumamah and other sandy desert regions have put the public on high alert. Al-Thumamah is particularly visited by families with children who come to relax and enjoy the immense red sands and the exciting experience of riding quad bikes in the desert.

An alarming increase in scorpion bites at Al-Thumamah and other sandy desert regions have put the public on high alert. Al-Thumamah is particularly visited by families with children who come to relax and enjoy the immense red sands and the exciting experience of riding quad bikes in the desert.

In what could have been a disaster, a 39-year-old Saudi man was recently rushed to the nearest government health center in Riyadh following a severe case of black venomous scorpion bite.

Hamadan Al-Otaibi was stung on the right hand by a black scorpion while he was camping with his family and friends in the red sand desert of Al-Thumamah, a popular recreation spot.

Al-Otaibi complained of excruciating pain and itching where he was stung, paired with constant vomit and elevated blood pressure.

“The victim reflected anxiety and shivering and became extremely restless,” said one of the doctors attending on him. “He was immediately administered anti-scorpion venom.”

An alarming increase in scorpion bites at Al-Thumamah and other sandy desert regions have put the public on high alert. Al-Thumamah is particularly visited by families with children who come to relax and enjoy the immense red sands and the exciting experience of riding quad bikes in the desert.

Azra Yousuf, a teacher who visited Al-Thumama with her children, said she was surprised to find out about such accidents.

“We have heard stories about snake- and scorpion-bites in the empty deserts. But we were shocked to know that these incidents have taken place in areas that we frequent regularly,” she said.

“An advisory should be circulated to alert people visiting the desert areas about the dangers of the venomous creatures and the first-aid measures,” she said.

Scorpion poisoning is a common medical problem and has become a public health hazard.

According to a report published in Saudi Medical Journal, the Kingdom receives on average over 200 cases of scorpion sting from each province annually. Scorpion- and snake-bites are commonly reported in the arid desert lands around Baha, Hail, Jouf, Qassim, Madinah and Riyadh.

The government has regularly issued public warnings and information to prevent and reduce such occurrences.

However, there is a need to address the misconceptions about the lethality of the scorpion-bite. Though a small percentage of deaths have been reported among children and elderly due to lower immunity or unawareness of remedial procedures, not all scorpion bites are fatal.

 
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