- Snake bites are most common in South East Asian Countries
- Experts recommend immediate medical assistance to avoid deaths and serious harm for body
- Symptoms vary for different snakes. Even a bite from non-venomous snake cause fear and consequent health risks
- Pressure immobilization is the recommended first aid
- Try to identify the snake
Nandu, a fifth standard student residing in Kerala, a south Indian state, made all his family members cry, as he came running, saying that something bit him on his leg while standing near the garden in front of their house at night.
Without second thoughts, his parents took him to the nearest hospital and avoided the risk. But for everyone’s surprise, there were no bite marks or any symptoms of venom or poison even after two hours of observation, following which he was sent back home.
His parents would have thanked the Almighty for not causing any harm to their kid. But, this is not the case in other parts of this country or most of the South East Asian countries.
As per the statistics of World Health Organization, snake bite mortalities were highest in South East Asian countries, and a majority of them happen as people rely on traditional remedies for snake bite.
We can not depend on the available present data on snake bites and consequent deaths. The WHO statistics in 1998 shows that a total number of snake bites may exceed five million each year across the globe with around 1,25, 000 deaths each year.
Occurrence of Snake Bite:
- When snake enters home
- During trekking or while in the forest
- In the farm fields
- In and around house during night
- On roads
How to Prevent Snake-bites:
Snake bites other living beings either for eating it or as a defense mechanism. The quantity of venom and severity of bite depends on the purpose. Generally speaking, when you come across with a snake, keep calm and motionless. If you try to run away or become aggressive, snakes too get confused and end up biting you or spitting venom at you.
Sometimes, the snakes intrude to our houses. Rats or livestock farming attracts these reptiles, and they invade our home. In such cases protect your home using nets and guards and be cautious always.
While in the farming fields, try to wear a dress that covers your legs fully. Be careful so that children never try to explore regions that are snake infested.
Symptoms of snake bites differ for various snakes. Even a bite from non-venomous snake may end up in shock and consequent health risks. Common symptoms include:
- Fang marks (marks of the bite)
- Pain at the site of bite
- Swelling at the site of bite which gradually spreads
- Abdominal pain
In case of highly venomous snakes, there may not be any local pain or swelling. But the fang marks will be visible. The symptoms in such cases include:
- Visual disturbances
- Sudden Collapse
- Irregular heartbeat (Cardiac Arrhythmias)
- Traumatic bleeding
- Skeletal muscle breakdown (for sea snake bites)
- Paralysis (for bite by King Cobra)
Considering the fact the consequences of bite varies for each snake. Some countries recommend pressure-immobilization method, But it is not advisable for treating bites from some snakes of elapids (king cobra, mamba etc.).
- Try to identify the snake that bitten you
- Remember its color, shape, and length
- Remain calm and don’t get hypertensive as it worsens the condition
- Stay immobilized. Motion pumps more blood and absorb more venom from the site of the bite
- Don’t try to clean or apply home remedies at the site of the bite
- Take immediate medical help
As per WHO and other international organizations, delay in seeking medical expertise had caused maximum deaths after snake bite. Thus, in case of even doubts about a snake bite, take the person to a doctor as fast as you can. Through numerous laboratory investigations and observations, the medical practitioners would understand the venom following which anti-venom or other medications would be started.