Scorpion Sting First Response Short Course

Essential Scorpion Sting First Response by Jonathan Leeming


The following free short course aims to reduce the burden of scorpion stings across Southern Africa. The content has been adapted and summarised from my Essential Scorpion Sting First Response BookIt is based upon the latest science, and is as much about values and beliefs, and our relationship with the environment, as it is about understanding scorpions and scorpion stings. It offers an overview from which to reduce the chance of being stung by a scorpion, and ensure the best possible outcome should a sting occur in humans or animals.

Study the short course content. When you feel like you understand the content enough, take the 20 minute, 50 question assessment. Note that the pass mark for this course is 80%. If you score 80% or more, you will earn yourself a certificate!

Lastly, if you would like to support this educational effort and help get this understanding out to your community,  then you will find some promotional text, images and a poster here.

1) Introduction To Scorpion Sting First Response

Scorpions are truly enigmatic creatures. They are more recognisable than any Hollywood movie star, yet the average person knows very little about them. Their reputation is steeped in mystery, misinformation, old wives tales, yet there is a single aspect of their natural history that we are fixated upon… their venom.
Go to page

2) Our Relationship With Scorpions

My work with venomous animals has taken me to faraway places, interacting with people from different languages, cultures, age groups, economic and education levels. However, despite these differences, there is a common perception shared across these dividing factors.
Go to page

3) Venom & Venomosity Rule Of Thumb

All scorpions have neurotoxic venom which has evolved under the context of the scorpion’s natural history. The term neurotoxic refers to where the symptoms occur and not what the symptoms are. Between different species of scorpion there is variation in the biological action of their venom. 
Go to page

4) Dangerous Scorpions

In the past, the subject of first response has suffered from distracting and confusing terminology. The human fascination with venomous animals has resulted in them being referred to as relatively harmless, serious, dangerous, nasty and even deadly. What do these terms actually mean and how do they add to our understanding of first response?
Go to page

5) Scorpion Sting Symptoms

In southern Africa, the vast majority of scorpion stings result in little more than class 1 and 2 symptoms, requiring no professional medical intervention whatsoever. At the other extreme, southern Africa is home to 2 species of scorpion that are collectively responsible for an estimated 8 to 12 deaths per year.
Go to page

6) Factors Influencing Scorpion Sting Symptom Severity

It may be logical to think that all the symptoms of a sting are a direct result of the scorpion’s venom, but this is not the case. A sting from a highly venomous scorpion does not always result in class 3 or 4 symptoms, and a sting from a mildly venomous scorpion does not always result in class 2 or 3 symptoms.
Go to page

7) Scorpion Stings In Animals

Scorpion envenomation in dogs and cats is more common than in humans. This is because when they locate a scorpion, they rarely move away to a safe distance. They often head for it and try to kill it which results in them being stung. Although this section focuses upon domestic cats and dogs, the associated principles and factors influencing symptom severity, apply to all mammalian animals
Go to page

8) Essential Scorpion Sting First Response

First response is largely focused upon understanding the severity of the situation. A decision needs to be made to do nothing because that is what needs to be done, or to transport the patient to medical assistance as soon as possible. Between these two extremes lies the answer to the question: As First responder, what should I do?
Go to page

9) Where To Ask For Help?

The foundations of effective emergency response for any bite or sting is the emergency response plan. This simple document is vital in the heat of the moment and applies to all medical emergencies, not just scorpion stings. It contains 4 sections.
Go to page

10) Scorpion Sting Closing Thoughts

Effective scorpion sting first response can be overwhelming. There are 2 important foundations that you should keep in mind.  These are: Predicting outcomes based upon the venomosity rule of thumb, factors influencing symptoms severity, and red flags.
Go to Page

Essential Scorpion Sting First Response Assessment

Please enter your name and email address. if you are completing this quiz as part of an organisation, please enter the organisations name. You have 20 minutes to complete 50 questions. 40 Correct answers earn you a certificate.
Go to assessment

Scorpion Sting Medical Research

The following papers are a collection of the best references if you want a deep dive into the medical treatment of scorpion stings in southern Africa. 
Go to page


The Essential Scorpion Sting First Response Book represents a new innovative science based approach to scorpion sting first response. The following references ware used in the Essential Scorpion Sting First Response Book.
Go to page

Join The Essential Scorpion Sting First Response Facebook Group

Join the conversation where we discuss how to reduce the chance of being stung by a scorpion, and if there is a sting, how can you ensure the best possible outcome for scorpion stings in humans and animals. 

Open Facebook Group

Order You Copy Of The Essential Scorpion Sting First Response Book

This book offers a new and innovative first response framework that is based upon the latest science, is easy to understand and put into practice. It will reduce the burden of scorpion stings across Southern Africa
Preview & Online Order

Jonathan Leeming

Jonathan Leeming is southern Africa’s leading authority on spider bite and scorpion sting first response. He has been assisting medical professionals, organisations, consulting for poison information helplines, and been a panel member and presenter at medical conferences for the past 15 years. His work has shaped how spider bites and scorpion stings are treated in Southern Africa, and has defined and inspired a generation.

Jonathan is a best selling author, award winning conservationist and international speaker.
I'm on a mission to reduce the burden of spider bites and scorpion stings across Southern Africa!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram