What to do with a snake bite
Snakes are common on all continents of the globe. In total, there are about 3,500 species of them, more than 300 of them are classified as poisonous. 11 species of these venomous reptiles live in Russia, but death from a snake bite is quite a rare case, since the most dangerous representatives of the fauna live in hot countries.
The most common type of poisonous snake in our country is the common viper. Its area is very wide and captures not only the territory of Russia, but also the countries of Europe and Asia. In general, in terms of venomous snakes, our country is a safe place. Often when traveling abroad, in countries with a tropical climate, this fact plays a cruel joke with our compatriots. People who are not accustomed to fear the representatives of the fauna behave incorrectly and can get serious poisoning from the venom of animals, including snakes. How to recognize venomous snakes and what to do in case of a bite - we'll talk about this in this article.
Poisonous snakes of Russia
The most common in our country are the following types:
- common viper;
- steppe viper;
- Caucasian Viper;
- Common mordant.
Viper common. It dwells in the European part of Russia, in Siberia and the Far East. It is very demanding of a biotope - it needs forest and forest-steppe zones, where you can bask in the sun and take shelter in the underbrush. It is found along the banks of rivers and lakes, on the edge of marshes, in glades and in mixed forests. The body of the snake is thick, up to 75 cm long, the females are larger than the males. The head is triangular, the pupil is vertical, large, poisonous teeth 4–5 mm long are located on the front edge of the upper jaw. Snake color varies from gray to red-brown, characterized by a zigzag dark stripe on the back, but there are also completely black vipers. Vipers bite defensively, while occupying a characteristic pose for a throw and hissing. She throws a throw to a small height - 10-15 cm, so that high shoes or rubber boots can quite protect the bite. The venom of the viper has the ability to cause hemorrhages, increases blood clotting and causes local necrotic reactions.
Steppe viper. It differs from the common viper by its habitat - it is common in the steppe and forest-steppe zones of Europe, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Southern Ukraine, China, Iran and Turkey. The size of a snake is no more than 50 cm, the color is brown or gray, there is a dark zigzag on the back, and dark spots can be seen on the sides. No cases of human death after the bite of the steppe viper have been recorded - mainly livestock suffers from it.
Caucasian Viper. It looks like a steppe viper, but is somewhat larger in size and has a characteristic bright color - yellow-orange or brick, with a dark stripe on the ridge. Inhabits the Krasnodar Territory, the South Caucasus and Northeastern Turkey. It can be found in mountainous areas in forest and meadow belts. There are isolated cases of death from the bites of this snake.
Common moth. This snake belongs to the family of imitaceous. You can meet her in South Siberia and the Volga region. The body of this reptile is up to 70 cm long, gray or brown in color, with dark broad transverse spots on its back. The head is covered with large shields. The bite of the shieldtail is painful, accompanied by edema and impaired blood circulation. Possible damage to the kidneys and spleen, internal hemorrhage. Despite such serious symptoms, deaths after the bite of the shield-mord are not noted.
On the territory of the former Soviet republics can be found several more species of venomous snakes.
- Gyurza lives in the south of Central Asia and in the east of the Caucasus. It belongs to the genus of giant vipers, the length of its body can reach two meters. The bite of gurza causes pain and edema, the poison has a hemolytic effect, leading to hemorrhages, rupture of small vessels and an increase in blood coagulation. At the site of the bite, a double trail of teeth is visible, later blisters form there. Possible fatal outcome due to general poisoning of the body, internal hemorrhages, renal failure.
- Sandy efa - another representative of the viper family, lives in the deserts and semi-deserts of Central Asia. The snake is more poisonous than its northern relatives - the lethal dose of poison for humans is 5 mg, and one fifth of the bitten people die without appropriate help and treatment.
- The Central Asian cobra is a venomous snake from the family of asps. It is found in the south of Central Asia, unlike its more southern counterparts, it does not have a characteristic spectacle color. Cobra venom has a predominantly neurotoxic effect. Even the deadly bite of a snake is less painful than that of vipers, and the local reaction (pain, swelling, necrosis) is practically not expressed. In severe cases, death occurs from paralysis of the respiratory center and heart failure.
- Nose Viper.
- Little Asian Viper.
Exotic Venomous Snakes
The moth, living on the territory of Russia, is a representative of pike, or rattlesnakes. Among the southern species of rattlesnakes found in the southern United States, there are very poisonous in Central and South America. For example, dwarf rattlers and Brazilian rattlesnakes. The rattlesnake bite is fatal in 75% of cases.
In Africa, the hairpin snake lives, the poison of which consists of many toxins and has not yet been fully studied. A hairpin snake bite is dangerous to humans and animals and causes severe pain, narrowing of blood vessels, heart attack. The bite site is swollen, hematomas and tissue necrosis develop.
Since the main danger in the conditions of our country comes from vip snakes, consider the issues of first aid and treatment on the example of the viper bite.
Symptoms of this snake bite will be as follows.
At the site of the bite, two points from poisonous teeth are clearly visible.
- In the first minutes after the bite, there is a slight pain, a burning sensation in the injury site, swelling and redness of the skin.
- Edema spreads quickly, dizziness and weakness occur.
- With the development of an allergic reaction occurs swelling of the larynx, breathing is difficult.
- General symptoms develop 20–40 minutes after the bite: blood pressure decreases, heartbeat quickens, skin turns pale, nausea and vomiting are possible.
The consequence of the adder bite can be the death of tissue at the site of the bite and the further development of necrosis and gangrene. There is a serious danger of losing a bitten finger or even a limb if improper assistance is provided.
Can a snake bite in water? Maybe, but, as a rule, the vipers live far enough away from the water and find themselves in it only when crossing to the other side. If you are bitten by a snake in the water, then most likely it is. Another thing - snakes in tropical countries. There are many sea snakes in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific basins, and all of them are poisonous to one degree or another.
First aid for snake bites
What to do if bitten by a snake? The victim must be given first aid or self-help if there are no other people nearby. First aid for a snake bite is to do the following:
- take measures so that the snake does not bite again;
- if the bite came in the hand - remove the rings, bracelets, etc., so as not to squeeze the tissue during swelling;
- suck blood from the wound for 15–20 minutes, periodically spitting the contents;
- if the bite is not available for self-suction, then you can do it with a syringe, cutting off his nose;
- process the wound with any antiseptic - alcohol, iodine, brilliant green;
- ensure that the victim is at rest so that the poison does not spread quickly and the body has time to fight it;
- drinking plenty of water will help detoxify the body.
- cauterize the bite site;
- take alcohol;
- cut or cut the skin at the site of the bite.
There is a specific antidote to snake bite - therapeutic serum, obtained by hyperimmunization of horses. Each serpent species has its own serum. In Russia, you can buy the serum from the venom of the adder ordinary, sandy efa and gurzy. It should be noted that the doctor should use the serum, since, being a biological product, it can cause allergic reactions, even anaphylactic shock.
In addition to the introduction of antidote serum, snake bite treatment is carried out symptomatically. You need to drink plenty of fluids to speed up the excretion of poison by the kidneys. To prevent allergic reactions take a pill "Suprastin", "Dimedrol" or another antihistamine. If necessary, the doctor prescribes supporting heart and painkillers.
What not to do with a snake bite
Is it possible to use a hemostat after a poisonous snake bite? This stereotype was formed on the basis of information about snakes bites with nerve poison - for example, cobras. In cases with vip and rattle bites, application of a harness is not only useless, but also extremely harmful. First, the adder's poison spreads very quickly along the bloodstream, and secondly, tissue injury will only aggravate necrotic changes at the bite site.
What else can you do with a snake bite:
With the development of a common allergic reaction, the victim must be urgently taken to the hospital.
Bites of non-venomous snakes
Sometimes a person is bitten by a non-poisonous snake. Is there any cause for concern? Yes, but only if you confuse a non-poisonous snake with a poisonous one. On the territory of Russia, very often suspicions cause coppers and snakes.
Already different from the viper in black and orange spots on the back of the head and the absence of a zigzag strip on the back. You can confuse a snake with a viper of a rare black color. The head is oval-shaped, the viper has an oval-triangular shape. The scales of the grass snake glitters in the sun, while at the viper it is matte. Live snakes mainly near water bodies. The bite of the snake is not so painful and does not cause severe swelling and hemorrhage.
Nikolsky's Viper, or Copperhead, is not poisonous. This snake up to 70 cm long, gray or brown in color, lives practically on the whole European part of Russia. Its saliva is toxic, but the bite of the vermouth is dangerous only for its prey — lizards and other small vertebrates, since the teeth of a snake are arranged so that it cannot bite a human.
Those who keep exotic snakes at home should be aware of the bites of the boa. Boas are pretty peace-loving snakes, but in case of danger they can attack and bite. The bites of large individuals are quite painful, but not poisonous. The wound needs to be treated with an antiseptic in order not to infect the infection - and the incident will remain without consequences.
What to do if the snake bit the child
If a child is bitten by a snake, then do not panic. You need to calm the baby, take off your shoes or roll up your sleeves, depending on the bite. Wash the bite with soap and treat with antiseptic. Provide your child with plenty of drink, something better with a diuretic effect - black tea, herbal decoctions. Give an antihistamine to prevent an allergic reaction. If the child is not vaccinated against tetanus, then it is necessary to give a shot of tetanus toxoid.
Try to remember the snake, call an ambulance and describe its appearance. If the child is less than three years old, or the bite fell on the neck, face area - immediately seek medical help, even if you are sure that the snake is not poisonous.
Let's summarize the above. A small number of venomous snakes dwells on the territory of Russia, there are practically no deaths from their bites. The greatest danger is the bite of a viper ordinary. Risk factors - children's age, diseases of the cardiovascular system, allergy to snake venom, bites in the neck and head. First aid is to suck out poison from the wound, disinfect the bite site and transport the victim to the hospital, where they will be given an antidote, a specific serum. For several days, you should observe bed rest and drink plenty of fluids to speed up the elimination of toxins from the body. In severe cases, maintenance therapy may be necessary - anti-shock, cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory. The effects of a snake bite usually pass within a week. Complications can be abnormalities in the kidneys or infection of the wound at the site of the bite.