Despite the fact that some people keep them as pets, scorpions have long been tormenting humans. We are reminded, through a truly tragic story, about the dangers of encountering a scorpion sting. They administer a painful and venomous sting. While there are medical treatments, and they are rarely fatal, some people don’t always survive a scorpion sting. As was the case for 7-year-old, Luiz Miguel Furtado Barbosa from Brazil.

The Day of the Scorpion Sting

Luiz Miguel Furtado Barbosa was putting his shoes on in preparation to go with his family on a camping trip. Instead, they ended up taking a trip to the hospital. His mother, Angelita Furtado, recalls after the boy was stung their family frantically searched for the cause of his pain. She said his leg grew redder as his pain increased. She told interviewers, “That’s when I imagined that it really was a scorpion and that I needed to find it to find out which one it was.”

Angelita and the boy’s father, Eraldo Barbosa, rushed their son to the hospital. Luiz was immediately given a bed in pediatrics and medical professionals began administering doses of anti-venom medication. The following day Luiz showed some signs of improvement from the toxic scorpion sting. Angelita explained, “They even removed him from some medication. He opened his eyes, tried to talk to me. I kissed him and he had to be sedated again, because he was very agitated.”

Tragedy Presents a Lesson

However, on October 25th his condition took a turn for the worse, and he suffered a series of 7 heart attacks before passing away. Luiz left behind his mother, father, and a 5-year-old brother named, Joao Felipe. Angelita explained her heartbreak did not come without a valuable lesson. She explains that Luiz had a passion for life. He was active and always ready to go learn and explore.

She said, “I decided that I would make the lesson that Miguelzinho left me worth it as he taught me how to be a mother.” Following that up with, “And I will be for Joao what I may have stopped being for Luiz. We have to have this mindset instead of feelings of guilt.”

A Rise of Scorpion Encounters

According to the local government, scorpion stings are common in the area where the family lives. The municipality where they reside shares a border with the Tiete River in Brazil. Since the beginning of the year, the City Hall of Anhembi has recorded 54 incidents related to a scorpion sting. These attacks have been on the rise as deforestation has increased.

Animals become displaced and are forced to infest cities in order to find a source of food. The Brazilian Yellow scorpions live on cockroaches and most cities have an abundance of these “delicacies“. Reports of scorpion stings have increased substantially over a 10-year period. In 2007, there were around 37,000 reports but in 2017, the cases rose to 126,000. The death reports following a scorpion sting have more than doubled, from 70 in 2013 to 184 in 2017.

What is a Scorpion?

Scorpions are a part of the arachnid family, commonly referred to as, Arthropods. This is the same family as mites, and sea creatures such as crabs. Scorpions have 8 legs, 2 pinchers, and a tail. They are most commonly found in the deserts but can live in other places such as the forest near where Luiz lived with his family. There are between 1,500 and 2,000 species of scorpions but only a small portion are venomous. They are nocturnal and contrary to popular belief they are not aggressive. Scorpions will avoid stinging or biting unless they feel threatened.

What happens to the Body After a Scorpion Sting

In most cases, a scorpion sting is not lethal and can be easily treated. However, because young children and elderly adults are the most susceptible to complications Luiz suffered a series of heart attacks before his death. Scorpions release venom from their tails that contain a mix of toxins. These toxins are referred to as neurotoxins and have an impact on the nervous system. Complications from a scorpion sting include, swelling or fever, itching or burning around the infected area, and muscle twitches. More serious complications include, accelerated heart rate, vomiting, high blood pressure, irritability or restlessness.

Ensuring Safety

In places all over the world we are seeing a rise of encounters, and when feeling threatened, attacks from wild animals. Deforestation is rapidly destroying their habitats. Corporations are buying acres upon acres of land in order to construct homes, apartment buildings, and businesses. Natural disasters also play a role in the demolition of these habitats.

Animals are being displaced, and in turn, impede upon homes and cities to seek out shelter and food. Check shoes, coats, and other dark small spaces in your home to avoid a possible scorpion sting or bite. Be aware of the wildlife in your area and stay informed about the latest safety tips for dealing with unexpected encounters.

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