Venomous snakes and their bite

Venomous snakes are especially dangerous for travelers who visit areas where venomous snakes occur, but also for lovers of venomous snakes who keep them as pets. A distinction is made between blood poison and nerve poison. With nerve poison the paralyzing part of the poison predominates, with blood poison it does not.

Venomous snakes

A poisonous snake is a snake with special pierced or grooved teeth. These teeth are connected to venom glands. These poison glands produce a poison containing substances that paralyze or kill the victim. Venomous snakes are especially dangerous for travelers who visit areas where venomous snakes occur, but also for lovers of venomous snakes who keep them as pets.

About 15 percent of snakes are poisonous to humans. In the Netherlands and Belgium there is only one type of poisonous snake, this is the viper. In the Netherlands mainly in Limburg, Gelderland, Drenthe and Friesland. Other poisonous snakes that occur outside Europe are rattlesnakes, sea snakes, cobras, coral snakes, mambas and all others from the Elapidae family, which contains 230 poisonous snakes.

Effect of the poison

Anyone who has been bitten by a poisonous snake will soon notice something about this. How quickly the poison takes effect and causes damage depends on the type of snake, the location of the bite, the size of the snake, the condition of the victim and the measures taken immediately after the bite.

Kind of poison

A distinction is made between blood poison and nerve poison. With nerve poison the paralyzing part of the poison predominates, with blood poison it does not.

The symptoms of nerve poison are: paralysis of breathing, often pain, deafness, dizziness, local swelling, mild paralysis, bleeding from the mucous membranes and from the wound. Death occurs after 12 to 48 hours.

The symptoms of blood poison are: bruising, blood dissolving, tissue death, pain, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, fever, swelling or edema. Death can also occur here.

Snake kit

Travelers who visit areas where poisonous snakes reside are advised to take a snake kit with them. A snake kit contains a rope to tie off the body part, a knife with which to enlarge the bite wound and suction cups to extend the wound. to be able to suck. These suction cups are available in different sizes.

Therapy

Immediate action is necessary in the event of a snake bite. Tie off the bitten body part to prevent the poison from spreading. Always tie off the supply to the heart, so in the case of a bite wound in the leg, tie off above the bite wound and not below it, i.e. in the direction of the heart. Because the blood is finally pumped around by the heart and one must try to prevent the poisonous blood from passing further through the body via the heart. So tie it off properly. Then cut the wound deeply with a knife. Now suck out the wound to limit the poison. This is done with the wound, or if it is difficult to reach, with the suction cups from the hose kit. Poison in the mouth does not do any harm as long as there are no wounds in the mouth. The poison in the stomach cannot do any harm, but it is better to spit it out.

After providing this first aid, find a hospital or doctor as quickly as possible to administer an antiserum. Remember which snake bit you, describe as clearly as possible the color, markings and size of the snake, and the area in which it was located. The local hospital is often already familiar with these snakes.