There are about 3000 species of snakes, of which only 250-300 are poisonous. Snakes commonly found in our country are king cobra, common cobra, common krait, common striped krait, pit viper and Russell’s viper. All snakes are not poisonous. All snake bites are not fatal. Most people die from fear and not the venom. Most snakes bite dangerous, because when the snake bites in defense, little or no venom is injected. The snake must be identified because no antivenin is necessary if it is nonpoisonous. If it is poisonous, its type must be cannot be found or cannot be identified, it should be treated as poisonous, and general antivenin should be given.
How a snake bite is diagnosed?
- There is a history of snake bite.
- There are 2 fang marks a finger’s breadth apart.,
- Intense pain is experienced by the victim at the site of the bite of a wiper. That area is swollen and blackened. Bleeding might be seen from different places. The patient vomits. Collapse and coma follow.
- Fifteen minutes to two hours after the bite of a cobra or similar snakes neurotoxic effects are seen, e.g. giddiness, lethargy, muscular weakness and spreading paralysis. Breathing becomes slow and labored. After a couple of hours, respiration ceases with or without convulsions and the heart stops.
- A bite from a sea snake is felt as a sharp initial prick that subsequently becomes painless. After 1-2 hours, generalized muscular pain and stiffness develop. Starting the neck, shoulders and hips. Urine becomes brown in color. Reparatory failure may occur.
- Place the person on a flat surface comfortably.
- Reassure him that all snakes are not poisonous, and the condition is curable.
- Tie a tourniquet between heart and the bitten area to avoid absorption of the poison into the venous blood. Loosen it for a few seconds every ten minutes.
- Immobilize the affected limb.
- Make a 2.5 cm long cut over the bitten area and squeeze out blood mixed liquid from the wound.
- Wash the wound gently with normal saline.
- Apply ice packs on the wound if the area is on a limb.
- Treat shock.
- Shift eh patient to hospital immediately, along with the killed snake, if available for identification.