Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What to do if you are bitten by a snake

Date:
December 1, 2010
Source:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Summary:
Should you be the victim of a snakebite, the best thing you can do is get to a hospital as quickly as possible, according to a new review article.

A Rattle snake.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jamie Kovach

Should you be the victim of a snakebite, the best thing you can do is get to a hospital as quickly as possible, according to a new review article from the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS). Current medical treatments, including new medications and surgery, if necessary, are far more effective for snakebites than anything you can do on your own.

Related Articles


"Previous generations of antivenin medications were notorious for causing negative systemic reactions," says Adam W. Anz, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC. "But the antivenins we have available today can not only help avoid long-term damage from the snake venom, but they can also prevent the need for more invasive medical treatment."

  • Snakebite symptoms can range from pain, swelling, and bruising to an irregular heartbeat, paralysis, and muscle twitching.

Surgery is very rarely, yet sometimes necessary to treat damage incurred from a snakebite, in cases where severe swelling compromises blood flow. This is not the only reason that orthopaedic surgeons are often consulted on these types of injuries.

"Orthopaedic surgeons are experts in regard to treating the extremities, and the hands and feet are the parts of the body most often bitten by snakes," says Dr. Anz. "This is why it is important for orthopaedic surgeons and the public to know about the effects of venom and the best ways to treat snakebites."

Tips for avoiding snakebites:

  • Understand the types of environments where people are likely to encounter snakes. For example, wooded areas with deep piles of leaves or stacks of wood are frequently home to snakes.
  • If you encounter a snake, get away from it. Do not attempt to pick it up or threaten its safety in any way. More than half of all bites occur when people interact inappropriately with snakes.

If you are bitten:

  • Identify the type of snake if possible. If a smartphone or other camera is available, take a photo of the snake and bring it with you to the hospital.
  • Get away from the snake.
  • Do not attempt to suck out the venom.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet unless you have a great deal of knowledge about snakes and the effects of snakebites. For some types of venom, a tourniquet can actually do more harm than good.
  • Immobilize the affected body part.
  • Remove all rings or restrictive jewelry on the affected limb, since snakebites often cause swelling.
  • Get to a hospital or healthcare facility as quickly as you can. Do not wait and watch for symptoms.

Relevant facts and statistics:

  • Approximately 45,000 snakebite injuries are reported annually in the United States.
  • Seventy to 80 percent of snakebites occur in males.
  • More than half of snakebites are to the hand(s).
  • Most snakebites result from intentional exposure, whether in a professional context (e.g., snake handling) or nonprofessional context (e.g., playing with snakes in the wild).
  • Alcohol consumption is involved in the majority of bites, resulting from risky behavior.
  • The high correlation between alcohol use and hand injury implies that bites occur when the victim is behaving in an unsafe manner, not when he or she is attempting to evade the snake.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "What to do if you are bitten by a snake." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201142504.htm>.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2010, December 1). What to do if you are bitten by a snake. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201142504.htm
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "What to do if you are bitten by a snake." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201142504.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins