A snakebite is an injury caused by the bite of a snake. It often results in two puncture wounds from the animal’s fangs. Sometimes poisoning from the bite may occur. This may result in redness, swelling, and severe pain at the area, which may take up to an hour to appear. Vomiting, trouble seeing, tingling of the limbs, and sweating may result. Most bites are on the hands or arms. Fear following a bite is common with symptoms of a racing heart and feeling faint. The venom may cause bleeding, kidney failure, a severe allergic reaction, tissue death around the bite, or breathing problems. Bites may result in the loss of a limb or other chronic problems. The outcome depends on the type of snake, the area of the body bitten, the amount of venom injected, and the health conditions of the person. Problems are often worse in children than adults.
Snakes bite both as a method of hunting and as a means of protection. Risk factors for bites include working outside with one’s hand such as in farming, forestry, and construction. Snakes commonly involved in poisonings include the elapids, vipers, and sea snakes. The majority of snake species do not have venom and kill their prey by squeezing them. Venomous snakes can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Determining the type of snake that caused a bite is often not possible. The World Health Organisation lists snakebite as a neglected disease.
Prevention of snake bites can involve wearing protective footwear, avoiding areas where snakes live, and not handling snakes. Treatment partly depends on the type of snake. Washing the wound with soap and water and holding the limb still is recommended. Trying to suck out the venom, cutting the wound with a knife, or using a tourniquet is not recommended. Antivenom is effective at preventing death from bites; however, antivenoms frequently have side effects. The type of antivenom needed depends on the type of snake involved. When the type of snake is unknown, antivenom is often given based on the types known to be in the area. In some areas of the world getting the right type of antivenom is difficult and this partly contributes to why they sometimes do not work. An additional issue is the cost of these medications. Antivenom has little effect on the area around the bite itself. Supporting the person’s breathing is sometimes also required.
Dry snakebites and those inflicted by a non-venomous species can still cause severe injury. There are several reasons for this: a snakebite may become infected, with the snake’s saliva and fangs sometimes harboring pathogenic microbial organisms, including Clostridium tetani. Infection is often reported with viper bites whose fangs are capable of deep puncture wounds. Bites may cause anaphylaxis in certain people.
Most snakebites, whether by a venomous snake or not, will have some type of local effect. There is minor pain and redness in over 90 percent of cases, although this varies depending on the site. Bites by vipers and some cobras may be extremely painful, with the local tissue sometimes becoming tender and severely swollen within five minutes. This area may also bleed and blister and can eventually lead to tissue necrosis. Other common initial symptoms of pit viper and viper bites include lethargy, bleeding, weakness, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms may become more life-threatening over time, developing into hypotension, tachypnea, severe tachycardia, severe internal bleeding, altered sensorium, kidney failure, and respiratory failure.
Most life threatening snake bites are caused by poisonous snakes. Venom emitted from some types of cobras, almost all vipers and some sea snakes causes necrosis of muscle tissue. Muscle tissue will begin to die throughout the body, a condition known as rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis can result in damage to the kidneys as a result of myoglobin accumulation in the renal tubules. This, coupled with hypotension, can lead to acute renal failure, and, if left untreated, eventually death.
The type of snake that most often delivers serious bites depends on the region of the world. In Africa it is mambas, Egyptian cobras, puff adders, and carpet vipers. In the Middle East it is carpet vipers and elapids. In Central and South America it is snakes of the Bothrops and Crotalus types, the latter including rattlesnakes. In South Asia it was previously believed that Indian cobras, common kraits, Russell’s viper and carpet vipers were the most dangerous; other snakes, however, may also cause significant problems in this area of the world.
Snake venom is produced in modified parotid glands normally responsible for secreting saliva. It is stored in structures called alveoli behind the animal’s eyes, and ejected voluntarily through its hollow tubular fangs. Venom is composed of hundreds to thousands of different proteins and enzymes, all serving a variety of purposes, such as interfering with a prey’s cardiac system or increasing tissue permeability so that venom is absorbed faster.
Snake Bites Causes, Symptoms
Causes of Snake Bites
As humans are far too large for a venomous snake to eat, most snake bites occur when the snake is provoked into acting in self-defence. In most cases, the snake is provoked by accident – for example, when a person accidentally steps on a snake while out walking. However, sometimes a snake bites after being deliberately threatened and frightened by someone:
- kicking it
- striking it
- trying to pick it up
Snake bites that involve foreign (exotic) snakes kept as pets usually occur when someone handles or ‘plays’ with them, often after drinking too much alcohol or taking recreational drugs.
Careless roaming in snake infested areas, forests without safety gadgets is danger – increases snake biting probability.
Symptoms of Snake Bites (Stings)
The symptoms of a venomous snakebite depend on the type of toxin(s) secreted into the bite or puncture wound, and in part, on how much toxin is present in the tissue.
The types of symptoms produced can be grouped into four groups:
Cardiotoxins: act on heart tissue
Neurotoxins: act on nervous system tissue
Cytotoxins: act on tissue at the site of the bite or on tissue that directly absorbs the toxin
Hemotoxins: act on the blood coagulation system and may cause internal bleeding
Some toxins may cause more than one of these effects. Because of the various symptoms that can occur with venomous snake bites, the potential signs and symptoms to look for, as listed by the CDC include the following:
- A pair of puncture marks at the wound
- Redness and swelling around the bite
- Severe pain at the site of the bite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Labored breathing (in extreme cases, breathing may stop altogether)
- Disturbed vision
- Increased salivation and sweating
- Numbness or tingling around the face and/or limbs
Symptoms from these toxins are somewhat variable and may occur quickly or they may be delayed for hours, depending on the toxin type and the amount absorbed. In general, small children are more vulnerable to snake bites because the relative larger amount of toxin absorbed in relation to their smaller body size can make the toxin effect more potent.
Identification of the snake helps emergency health care professionals to both anticipate the potential symptoms, and it allows for more rapid and appropriate treatment of the venomous snake bite. A detailed description of the snake, a picture of the snake, or the snake itself (ideally dead!) will help identify the type of snake and the type of toxin. Time should not be wasted, however, in transporting the patient to an appropriate health care facility and do not put others in jeopardy of getting bitten.
Snake Bites Ayurvedic Natural Home Remedies
Snake Bites (Stings) : AyurveDA Treatment
There are many types of snakes and their poison intensity differs. It is very necessary to treat the snake bite immediately even though some snakes are less poisonous. When the snake bites, it is better to observe which type of snake it is as medicines are also different for different snake bites. Here are some general home remedies :
1. One Castor leaf (Erand) and 10 whole Black peppers (Kali mirch) grinded together and given immediately, causes vomiting and removes poison of the snake bite from the body. Repeat it number of times.
2. Drinking Banana stem juice is very effective remedy to remove poison from the body due to snake bite.
3. Chewing Neem leaves with Salt and Black pepper (Kali mirch) is helpful in removing poison of snake bite. If it tastes sweet, it is an indication of presence of poison in the body, and if it tastes bitter it indicates that the absence of poisonin the body.
4. Taking grinded Basil (Tulsi) leaves with water helps during snake bite.
Amazing Benefits of Ayurvedic Home Remedies
Ayurvedic health treatment is the world’s oldest holistic healing system.
It was developed more than 12000 years ago in India.
It’s based on the simple belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
It believes in the principle of free treatment using herbs, roots and leaves of nature. You can also call it world’s first open source medical system.
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