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Definition

A physical puncturing wound caused by the fangs of a venomous/non-venomous snake leading to a bunch of symptoms like pain and vomiting, paralysis and sometimes death, qualifies as a snake bite.

Symptoms

You will know immediately when a snake has bitten you. Typical symptoms that accompany a snake bite are:

  • Two fang marks or wounds that look punctured
  • Bleeding from the wound
  • Localised Inflammation, burning and redness around the bite
  • Tremendous pain around the bite
  • Change in skin color
  • Diarrhoea and fever
  • Stomach ache and headache
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shock and Convulsions
  • Allergic reactions
  • Vision going blurry
  • Increased perspiration and salivation
  • Numbness and tingling in the limbs and the face, and drooping eyelids
  • Paralysis
  • Rapid pulse
  • Tiredness and muscle weakness
  • Thirst
  • Low Blood pressure

Risk Factors

The major risk factors associated with snake bites are the following -

  • Lack of immediate and scientific first aid in the form of anti-venom
  • Too much movement of the victim can cause the venom to spread faster in the body
  • Tight and fitted clothing and jewellery around the bite
  • Outdated first aid techniques like cutting the wound open and exposing to infection and complication, using tourniquets or cold compress, manually sucking the venom out or using pump suction device, pain killers without the doctor
  • Children run the risk of death and serious complications because of their smaller body size.

Diagnosis

First things first, call in medical emergency before administering local first aid. A doctor will examine the bitten area and identifying the snake type will aid the course of treatment.

Treatment and First Aid

Note the snake's appearance. Be ready to describe the snake to emergency staff.

While waiting for medical help:

  • Move the person beyond striking distance of the snake.
  • Have the person lie down with wound below the heart.
  • Keep the person calm and at rest, remaining as still as possible to keep venom from spreading.
  • Cover the wound with loose, sterile bandage.
  • Remove any jewelry from the area that was bitten.
  • Remove shoes if the leg or foot was bitten.

Do not:

  • Cut a bite wound
  • Attempt to suck out venom
  • Apply tourniquet, ice, or water
  • Give the person alcohol or caffeinated drinks or any other medications

If a snake-bite is life threatening, the doctor may administer a course of anti-venom. Every bite is not life-threatening. Sometimes, the extent of the damage caused by the bite is decided by the age and health of the victim. Oftentimes, a wound caused by snake bites is cleaned up, disinfected and treated promptly.

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