Saturday, 21 April 2012

Emedinews:Insights on Medicolegal issues: How can snake bites be avoided?

Snake venom is a very complex mixture of proteins and toxins. Snakes use their venom to immobilize, and in some cases, digest their prey.

Snakes bite only when they are surprised by a sudden movement and cannot get away. Cobras and the Russel viper are responsible for as many as 20,000 snake bite deaths in India every year. Inland Taipan is the world’s most venomous land snake. Its bite is synonymous with death. Maximum survival time recorded after the bite of a Taipan snake is not more than few hours. Without prompt medical assistance its victim has rarest chance of recovery.

To avoid snake bite:
• Do not sleep on the ground. You might roll over onto a snake while asleep, or a snake may move next to you to get warm.
• Do wear shoes when walking outdoors. Tall leather boots give the best protection for walking in long grass or undergrowth.
• Do learn about the poisonous snakes in your area. Learn what they look like and where they live. Most snakes live on the ground but some live in trees or bushes. Find out if there are any snakes that spit venom and how they attack.
• Do take care at night because this is when many snakes are active. Tell children to wear shoes and use a torch when walking around at night. Teach them to leave snakes alone.
• Do not go near snakes. Run away if you can. If you cannot run away, do not make sudden movements.
• Do not touch a snake even if it looks dead. Some snakes pretend to be dead to avoid attack.
• Do not turn over stones or logs, or put your hand or foot into a hole in the ground. Before stepping over a log look for snakes on the other side.