Drawings are ©www.venomoussnakes.net
By Anders Nielsen, Ph.d.
The person in this video receives a bite from one of the most dangerous snakes in the United States. The snake bites while he tries to take a photo of the snake. From that point, a struggle begins to reach the nearest hospital as soon as possible so that he can get antivenom; otherwise he might die. The video is a good illustration on why you should try to keep your distance from snakes.
Not only do the venomous species inflicts serious wounds, but relatively mellow snakes, such as the water snake may cause blisters and scars, and even worse, life-threatening infections.
This first picture illustrates a relatively mild injury resulting from a water snake bite. Apparently the result from the victim's scratches was an allergic reaction and blisters. The person with the blisters should definitely have a tetanus immunization. If you are looking for more repulsive bite photos, look farther down.
The majority of bites from venomous species are left untreated and are should heal automatically.
As most people are capable of surviving a venomous snake bite despite envenomation, antivenom is unnecessary in most cases. Secondly, most antivenoms have detrimental effects on people's organs and should be left out of a medical treatment whenever feasible.
The first detrimental effect of antivenom is that it distorts kidney function and, in some cases, seriously damages kidneys. Most copperhead and cottonmouth snake bites are not treated with anything other than soap and tetanus injections.
Whenever antivenom is not given, the doctor evaluates whether the potential side-effects of the antivenom are worse than the consequences of the venom.
Wounds are either chronic or non chronic, and below are examples of both. Some of the scars below eventually lightened, but some did not.
Fatalities from snake bites are relatively rare, but snake bites are not, and while the number of bites is increasing, the number of fatalities remains practically constant.
By following three simple guidelines, the risk of acquiring a bite from a snake you randomly encounter decreases significantly:
Venomous snake bites and necrosis with death of tissue at the location of the bite accompany each other. The picture below shows how widespread necrosis becomes in severe cases. The severity of the necrosis depends on how venomous the snake was.
The most common indication that a snake has bitten you is if you experience intense pain. Above is a picture of a Labrador that was bit in the face, probably by a copperhead or cottonmouth snake.
Some of the most common snake bite symptoms are: intense pain, discharge of blood from the wound, marks in the skin and swelling at the location of the snake bite, diarrhea, severe pain around the bite location, convulsion of unpredictable severity, blurred vision, powerlessness, dizziness, and fainting.
If you, following discharge from the hospital, experience bleeding gums, or any sort of unusual bleeding, you should immediately return to the hospital.
For more information on procedures to follow after a venomous snake bite, please visit Alabama Herps.
The photo below show how a snake bite might develop several days after the injury.
The worst case scenario is bites in locations where no medical help is immediately available. In such acute incidences, amputations may be the ultimate alternative to death. The African child in the image below was in that situation, and the doctors determined that amputation of his left leg was the best option.
Thanks to Oakley Origins for allowing me to use his photo.
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