When a 4-year-old girl was recently stung by a yellow scorpion known as the deathstalker, one of her parents decided to try a home cure first. By the time she arrived at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus several hours later, however, she was seriously ill.

“The little girl was finding it hard to breathe, and her blood pressure was high,” says Dr. David Rekhtman, director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

“It’s important that parents understand that home treatment of bites or stings can end in tragedy,” Hadassah’s emergency room experts emphasize. “This is snake and scorpion season. Incorrect treatment or a delay in seeking proper care can result in death.”

They add, “Even in these days of COVID-19, don’t delay. Come as fast as possible to the emergency room where experts can diagnose and treat those dangerous bites.”

In the case of this very sick little girl, the doctors decided to hold off on administering the anti-venom serum until they stabilized her, since the serum does have the potential side effects of rapid heart rate and fever. Once she was stabilized, the girl was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. “We watched her through the night to see if she needed the serum,” says PICU director Dr. Rebecca Brooks. “Thankfully she didn’t need it, and we sent her home the following day.”