Can you die from a snakebite? According to the WHO, at least 5.4 million people receive snakebites each year, causing approximately 1.8-2.7 million cases of envenomings.
There are roughly 3500 species of snakes in the world; out of this, 15% are poisonous snakes, which might be harmful to humans. The highest number of snakebites is from the non-poisonous snakes. At least each continent of the world has some snake species except Antarctica.
Dive deep through the article, it has all about snakebites you need to know.
Why snakebites? This review will reveal to you all about snakebites you need to know. Snakebites have become a significant threat to humans, resulting in thousands of fatal disabilities and massive deaths among people.
Every month, the world records at least 11,500 snakebite deaths of the cases that people report. The truth is that many people are dying of snakebites unannounced every year. It may not be a public health concern to many, but some people are secretly suffering from the snakebite issues every single day.
Some people suffering from snakebites may end up receiving their medication late or even stay without any treatment. The problem keeps worsening and remains to be a major killer and is the reason for lasting disorders and amputation among the people.
A snake can bite anyone. Snakebites are more common in developing countries than in developed nations. You are likely to find a good number of the people living with the snake’s injuries who receive the bite when they are busy with their occupations. For instance, the agricultural workers are more vulnerable to the bites when doing their operations in the field.
Also, there are inadequate health services, shortage of antivenom, poverty, and poor infrastructure, making it difficult for people in the countryside to access the hospital on time. Therefore, there is a need to create awareness for people on how to avoid and manage snakebites. If people should know how to respond immediately after a bite, it can save lives.
Snakebite Danger Level
Any kind of bite, either from poisonous or non-poisonous snakes, can be deadly, and it requires prompt and special treatment. In case you are not confident about what kind of a snakebite you are treating, venomous medication will be necessary, whichever the matter. Harmless snake’s bite can also cause serious problems.
Snakebite can be a life-threatening incidence taking many lives of people, especially where it is not possible to get medication immediately. For instance, in developing nations, the problem is a significant threat to people who are not able to receive appropriate attention in caring for the snake’s injuries.
The snake’s venom consists of hundreds of proteins that have different effects on humans. Snakes typically attack our nervous and circulatory systems exposing us to fatal cases.
The existence of the toxin in the bloodstream, the so-called haemotoxic venom, destroys the red blood cells. It causes tiny blood clots in the system and eventually makes holes in the blood vessels encouraging leaking; thus, a massive flow occurs, which indeed kills the victim.
Neurotoxic venom suddenly causes severe destruction to the nervous system, which interferes with the nerve function in signaling the muscles and eventually can result in paralysis.
It will spread and disable the diaphragm, thus stopping the breathing. The venom can kill the tissues, cells, and muscles around the bite area, which in the end, causes amputation. Snakebite is the number one killer than all the venomous animals.
First Aid on Snake Bite
First aid is the early and quick help to any victim to protect life and prevent the problem from aggravating. Knowledge of first aid is essential to every person because they can be of significant help to the victim before the arrival of the experts.
Having the information at hand ensures that people are available to provide the support needed during snakebite situations. It means that it is easy to save someone’s life, especially in rural areas where the hospitals are miles away.
Below are some tips about first aid on snake bite that you should always remember.
- Call the emergency number 911 right away.
- Observe the exact time the bite happens.
- Remain calm and avoid movements to prevent the venom from spreading through the body.
- Free the area with the bite from tight clothing, and be sure to remove the jewelry, if any. It will help to control the swelling.
- Ensure you carry the victim by any safe means available for transport. They should not walk themselves.
- If possible, take an image of the snake responsible for the injury and don’t try to kill or handle it.
Snakebite to Other Pets
Snakebite to our pets occurs mostly during the summer season when the snakes are active. Rabbits, pet snakes, and guinea pigs are excellent companions.
Keeping the rabbits and guineas pigs in the backyard means that you need to control the populations of the rats and mice in the area. Rats and mice are potential food to snakes, and they will attract them, this may expose your pets to danger.
In the case of a snake presence, guinea pigs will try to attack, and, in the process, they can receive severe bites from the snake. Cover any available opening for snakes to enter into the pet’s house.
Fun fact, rabbits have immunity to snake venom, their body produces antibodies that keep them safe from the poison.
Probably, you don’t know that there was a snake in the backyard and indeed bite your pets. Therefore, you need to know the symptoms that result from the snake biting a pet. It will help you to know when your pet is suffering from a snakebite. The following are common symptoms in pets from a snakebite;
- Unexplained swelling and bleeding.
- Breathing problems.
- The animals are unable to walk.
- Sudden weakness, and sometimes the animal collapses.
When you find your lovable pet into such a situation, keep calm and call your veterinarian immediately. There is a high chance of recovery with prompt treatment.
Snakebite to Dogs
Dogs have an instinct of hunting, and in the process when they are hunting, it is possible to encounter a snake. Again, dogs are curious and perhaps will not leave the snake. During this time, a snake can bite your pet as it is trying to defend itself.
Any kind of bite, whether with venom or not, is likely to stress the dog and cause irritation. In case of an attack, contact the veterinarian immediately. Timely medication tends to save 80% of the pets’ lives.
Symptoms of Snakebite in Dogs
The symptoms vary depending on the snake species involved with the bite. The signs of the bite appear immediately within 1-24 hours after the attack. Though, in dogs, the effect of the wound starts to attack your pet’s system right away.
Dog’s Symptom from Venomous Snake Bite
- Blood in the urine.
- Increased salivation.
- Dilated pupil.
- Weakness in the limbs.
Dog’s Symptoms from Non-Poisonous Snake
- It is swelling around the areas with an injury.
- Visible wounds.
- The wound tends to bleed.
Snakebite to Cats
Just like dogs, cats are curious animals. In case a cat comes across a snake, it will try to attack or interact with the snake. Snakes tend to be aggressive in case of any disturbance, and they won’t hesitate to bite.
There are more cases of the non-poisonous bites on cats than the poisonous one. When it comes to venom attack, the toxin reacts quite slowly in cats than in dogs where blood clotting may happen immediately.
To keep away your pet from snakes, control their movement outside, especially during the summer season when there are plenty of snakes out. Snakes usually attack both cats and dogs on the head or around the limbs. In the case of the bite, you are likely to see two puncture wounds in the affected area. Let’s see the possible signs in cats due to snakebite.
Symptoms of Snakebite in Cats
- Blood present in the urine
- A dilated pupil that makes it difficult for the cat to respond to light.
- Increased breathing
- The cat appears weak
- Drooping eyelids
Other signs are trembling, unable to move, paralysis in later stages, bleeding, and puncture wounds. Both cats and dogs recover quickly, within 12-24 hours from snakebites if they get into medication immediately after the attack.
Snakebite in Garden
Snakes can inhabit or visit your garden because of the presence of the potential food for them. The main diet for snakes in the garden is the rodents, frogs, lizards, moles, mice, etc.
When snakes are not hibernating, they will always go out to search for food. The majority of the animals, like rodents and moles, are a threat to our crops. Therefore, snakes play a beneficial role in controlling the population of these undesirable creatures.
Many snakes that stay in our garden are non-venomous such as the black snakes and can remain peacefully with humans. However, some people have lousy beliefs about snakes, or they are afraid of them.
Thus, the only thing that strikes their mind is to kill the snake whenever they see them. It is good to note that a snake will not leave you unhurt if you continue to threaten them.
The majority of the snakebites in the garden occur because people are trying to kill the snakes, or when operators step on a resting snake unknowingly, and receive a bite.
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Snakebites to the farmers occur mostly to the needful rural people in low- and middle-income nations. Due to scarcity in the medication services in such regions, labor becomes a problem, and it becomes difficult to feed the rapidly growing population.
Can Snakes Bite Through Leather Boots?
The snake’s fang cannot penetrate through the leather boots.
Thus, it is ideal for protecting you and preventing the snake from reaching into your skin.
The leather boots consist of a unique puncture proof-material. They have a perfect snake-guard lining that comes from impassable material. The lining is present between the boot’s internal layer and the external surface.
The manufacturers use neoprene, a lasting full rubber coating, polyurethane, and adds a rubber coverage in manufacturing these protective snake-proof boots.
They also have an inflatable latex rubber that is significant in preventing the penetration of the fang. The combination of these promising materials dramatically helps to protect against snakebites.
The snake boot will safeguard you from the snakes, whether you see them or not. It is essential to own a snake-proof boot to protect yourself and your future, of course.
The shoes are safe, sturdy, and long-lasting. They will truly protect you in regular prolonged walking and harsh terrains, particularly during hunting.
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You need to take good care of your leather boots to ensure they are under proper maintenance. It can give you a long service if well managed. Worn out leather boots will not help you at all because they won’t prevent the snake from accessing your skin.
Also, ensure you put on thick but comfortable pants that extend below the top of the boot. The snakes mainly target the lower leg and ankles, which is easily accessible to them.
Can Snakes Bite Through Jeans?
Jeans are a perfect choice clothing to protect yourself from snakebites. They play a significant role in reducing any chance of venom delivery into the skin and even depress the young snakes from injecting the venom due to its rough texture.
According to researchers, denim clothing helps to guard against snakebites from both the small and giant snakes. It is a cost-effective protection method that is affordable and readily available to all people at all classes.
During hiking or when visiting areas that are famous for snakes, ensure you wear long jeans pants with the snake-proof boots. Appropriate clothing is the first layer towards the protection against snakebites even after mastering the first aid tips.
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Always wear loose pants, it is vital because, in case of an attack, there is more cloth for the snake to bite, unlike when wearing tight clothes.
It reduces any possible chance of the fang from getting into direct contact with your skin. The jeans work effectively for a rattlesnake.
Can Snakes Bite Through Rubber Boots?
Can snakes bite through rubber boots? The answer is no; rubber boots may be useful in giving protection against snakebite. However, simple rubber boots are not secure and will do nothing but expose you to the danger.
You need to have thick and long boots. They are the best choice and will help to keep the fang away from your skin.
Once the snake injects venom into the boot, it won’t bother to know it did bite the skin or the boot. This way, the fang sinks into the boot, and the chances are high that it cannot get into contact with the skin. It is indeed a proof that rubber boots can protect you from snake injuries.
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Though rubber boots are not 100% effective that they will safeguard you from the snakebites. Some fangs can find their way through the boot and eventually reach your skin.
But at least you are better off, unlike the person who has nothing to guard themselves. The boots are more effective when hunting in wetlands or marshy areas.
Can Snakes Bite Through Tennis Shoes?
Can a snake bite through the tennis shoes? The simple answer is no, and tennis shoes can be useful in protecting you from snake bites.
A snake will not want to waste its venom towards different things other than their prey. The tennis shoes mostly prevent the bites from the toes from the snakes, which are famous for crawling on the ground surface.
However, tennis shoes are not as practical as hiking and knee-high boots, and they give quite low protection compared to the two.
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It is good to note that snakes are not brilliant enough to aim for bare skin and are not necessarily able to penetrate through most of the footwear. Tennis shoes, therefore, will be the right choice, inexpensive shoes to guard you.
In case of a snakebite, the foremost thing to do is to ask for help by contacting the emergency number 911 and then perform the first aid immediately before the victim gets help. The use of antivenoms is the last treatment for snakebites.
More importantly, having information about the snake in terms of size, color, and shape is crucial.
It makes work easy for the doctor to know what kind of antivenom that suits that particular problem.
Did you know that preparing the antivenom is quite an easy task? It involves injecting venom to sheep, rabbits or horses and collecting the serum for processing. The antibodies from the serum can neutralize the possible poison effects.
There are primarily two types of antivenom-the polyspecific and monospecific antivenom. The latter treats the bites resulting from specific snakes while the first deals with bites from several snakes in a particular region.
Administration of the antivenom into the victim’s body occurs through injection or intravenous therapy in the arm to help the drug spread quickly into the body. It gives a quick response to the medication.
Even so, antivenom has its side effect on the patient. Thorough monitoring is necessary to avoid severe other problems associated with the drug. Always treat a snakebite like a life-threatening activity if you happen not to identify the snake.
In the hospital, the first step is to assess the patient’s airway, circulatory state, consciousness, and breathing. The envenomed patients require further special and immediate treatment like exposure to oxygen, among others.
Symptoms of Non-Venomous Snake Bites
Non-poisonous snake species give a dry bite, they have no venom to inject on the victim. People receive most injuries from the non-venomous snakes, and its recovery is assured, there are no toxins in your veins.
Sometimes you may not know that the snake is poisonous or not; thus, you need to go for emergency treatment. The bites from the two types of snakes do not always have a sudden impact. Non-venomous snakes express a few symptoms, which commonly include;
- Itching around the bite area.
- Swelling and redness in the areas with the injury.
- Pain in the affected area.
- Allergy in some people
If the problem goes without treatment, it can lead to the death of cells and tissues, and skin infection. Non-poisonous snakes have three sets of row teeth that they use to bite a person in case of a threat.
Symptoms of Venomous Snake Bites
Bites from venomous snakes can be more dangerous. They inject venom to the victim through their fangs. The toxin mainly affects the nervous and circulatory system, which can be lethal and even kill the person who takes treatment delay.
To identify a bite from a venomous snake, they mostly leave two puncture wounds from the fang. Symptoms from venomous snakes can vary in some species where they cause signs specific to their type. Venomous snakebite is life-threatening, and it needs emergency treatment always.
Examples of the poisonous snake species are black mamba, rattlesnake, copperheads, cottonmouth, and coral snakes, among others.
Not all the time, the venomous snake will inject their venom, but whichever the case, venomous medication is necessary. Some of the signs and symptoms from venomous snakebite may be put into a few different groups as follows;
Receiving a bite from species like the vipers can expose a person’s internal organs like the brain to bleeding. Bleeding can also happen around the bitten part, old wounds, and impulsively from the mouth.
A few of the cobras and the vipers cause a bite with acute pain that may stop after sometimes. Coral snake’s bites will pain after some time, while the cottonmouth and copperheads cause immediate pain.
Rattlesnakes cause severe pain. The wounds can severely swell and result in bleeding or even blisters.
Some snakes like the ringhals and spitting cobras are capable of injecting venom into the victim’s eyes, which can result in severe pain in the eyes and damage. You may observe drooping eyelids as a result of the rattlesnake and coral snake bites.
Muscle weakness and death
The venom from the Sea snakes and Australian elapids is dangerous and can cause direct destruction of the muscles in various body parts.
The dead tissues from the affected muscles may block the kidney, which in turn results in kidney failure as the organ tries to filter them out. Rattlesnakes also cause muscle weakness.
Effects on the nervous system
Mamba and cobra snakes inject their venom directly into the nerve. They can suddenly stop muscle activity, which can result in immediate death without the treatment. At first, the patient will express vision problems, difficulty breathing, numbness, and speaking trouble.
The danger of the attack mostly depends on the location of the attack, health, and the patient’s age. The good thing is that even the venomous bite will respond to the treatment, all you need to do is act quickly.
Treatments: To Be Safe, Should Behave as the Highest Risk
All snake’s bites can result in an adverse effect on the victims. You need to handle all the snakebites with care and emergencies. Doctors urgently deal with severe conditions to prevent other adverse effects and death.
A person showing breathing difficulty is put under a ventilating machine to assist them in breathing. Persons with shock receive intravenous injections, which enhance the antivenom to spread quickly throughout the body.
When the patients show signs of recovery, they need to remain in the hospital for several hours for monitoring.
Antivenoms may be reactive to the person and express other symptoms such as fever, itching, fatigue, and joint aches. However, they are minor problems, and doctors can manage them easily.
Even after successful healing from the bite, in case you notice any developing symptoms like bleeding, persistent pain, excessive swelling, change in mental status, or even trouble in breathing, do not be reluctant to visit the hospital. Snakebites need immediate treatment; it will help to save your future.
Shortage of the Antivenom Drug
There is a low supply of antivenom drugs worldwide, and lack of enough medication poses many challenges. The situation is like that because only a small number of antivenom manufacturers in few countries can produce high-quality medicines.
The available drugs are expensive and become unaffordable to many people who seriously need them.
Many factors are contributing to the low supply of the antivenom. Such factors include- lack of the exact figure of people suffering from snakebites and no information on the type of snakebite.
Also, the lack of policies makes the manufacturer either stop producing or supply a few of the antivenom products at high prices.
Lack of regulation and marketing of the low-quality antivenom makes many doctors and the victims lose their trust in the available drugs, and it further increases the demand.
The combination of these factors will remain to be a stumbling block to effective snakebite medication unless there are appropriate decisive measures.
In our concern’ all about snakebite you need to know’ it is clear that the snakebite problems are open to humans, domestic animals and even some wildlife.
Snakebites occur throughout the world in areas with the snakes, and it is responsible for the loss of millions of innocent lives. The number of snakebites is much higher in developing countries like sub-Saharan Africa, among others. It is because of the inadequate knowledge among the people about handling snakes.
People need to know how to live peacefully with these fascinating creatures and save themselves from the dangers of snakebites. I hope the article has been of help to you and you are now familiar with all about snakebite you need to know.