Snake Bites and their emergency treatment

 

Snake venom contains many polypeptides including phospholipase, hyaluronidase and adenosine triphosphates.

Clinical Manifestation:

Determine whether bites are caused by a venomous or a non-venomous snake. Venomous snakes usually have two puncture wound, whereas non-venomous snakes have a U shaped bite wound.

IMMEDIATE SIGNS INCLUDE:

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LOCAL: – Oedema, erythema, and intense pain at the site of bite.

SYSTEMIC

1-   Haematocrit and platelet count may fall, with elevation of PT, APTT and bleeding time.

2-   Without treatment pulmonary oedema, shock and acute renal failure may set in. There may be neurological involvement leading to paraesthesias, ptosis, and muscle weakness leading to respiratory arrest.

Treatment

Treatment should be early to be successful.

1-   Immobilize extremity having wound.

2-   Apply tourniquet for two hours.

3-   Venom may be removed by suction and wide surgical excision of the bite.

4-   Polyvalent antivenom should be administered as early as possible.

5-   First generation cephalosporin and tetanus prophylaxis is also indicated.


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