Snake Bites

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

More than 20,000 persons worldwide die of snakebites every year. Dr. Edward Hill discusses snakebites, and some ways to prevent them, in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

There are many different types of snakes and some of these live in close quarters with humans. A snake bite is a medical emergency.

Venomous snakes deliver dangerous poison when they bite. Non-venomous snakes also bite, but their bites do not inject venom into the wound.

Seek medical attention immediately after a snake bite. Try to remember the shape of the snakes head and body and the snakes color to identify the type of snake and help direct the treatment.

Do not use tourniquets or suction devices. Do not cut the area around the bite. These traditional remedies do not help and they may harm the patient, making the situation much worse.

Antivenin, specific to the type of snake responsible for the bite, may be given in case of severe envenomation.

Persons with severe symptomssuch as rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, severe swelling, low blood pressure, severe external or internal bleeding, paralysis, circulatory shock or collapsemay require supportive care, including oral or intravenous fluids, medications, or breathing treatments.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.