First Aid in Case of Snake Bite VkontakteFacebook

Even though a common European viper is a venomous snake, it is not an aggressive species, tending to be rather timid and peaceful and biting only when cornered or threatened. They can bite when they stepped on or being caught. This usually happens when people take a venomous adder for a harmless grass snake. As a rule the adders reveal their presence with loud hissing hoping to scare people and larger animals. When threatened, its body takes S-shape to prepare for a strike. The common viper can shoot 1/3 of its body length ahead that is 20–30 cm (the average length of an adult adder is 55 cm). The snake is not able to do spring jumps neither can it roll downhill with its tail in its mouth chasing you. If it is too late to escape and the threatening posture does not help, a viper might frighten an aggressor. It does not bite but it strikes by its head with the closed mouth. The bite is painless but its after-effect is quite unpleasant but not deadly dangerous, the recovery period is 7–14 days.

In Russia, there have been only a few fatalities for many decades, although it is not clear whether the deaths were due to the effect of venom or to wrong medication. In Ka-relia, despite the relatively frequent occurrence of vipers, there have been no fatalities at all. Even so, professional medical help should always be sought as soon as possible after any bite. Very occasionally bites can be life threatening particularly to small children, while adults may experience discomfort and disability long after the bite.

Symptoms of a viper bite usually do not manifest themselves immediately after a bite. Local symptoms include swelling that spreads during 4–5 hours followed by intense pain in the joints, necrosis and damage of tissue at the place of bite. Systemic symptoms include nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, convulsion, and sometimes heart problems. It is very important to seek professional medical care as soon as possible. Self-treatment is not recommended because it can result in long and complicated illness instead of recovery in a few days.

Unprofessional remedies are not only ineffective but they can be dangerous and should not be used under any circumstances.

Application of a tourniquet to the bitten limb is not recommended because it doesn’t prevent flow of venom but it blocks blood circulation and can lead to tissue necrosis.[текст с сайта музея-заповедника "Кижи": http://kizhi.karelia.ru]

Application of potassium permanganate is also not recommended as it doesn’t affect the venom but can lead to destruction of soft tissues.

It is grossly ignorant to dress the bitten place with leaves, soil, cobweb, or to apply saliva or kerosene. This kind of treatment is very dangerous because the wound can be infected with very dangerous bacteria leading to serious ailment.

It is not only meaningless but it is very dangerous to sear the wound with a hot iron, a live coal from a bonfire, gunpowder, and etc. They cause severe burns that intensify the destruction of soft tissues and pain syndrome. It makes the organism that is weakened by snake venom loose energy struggling with one more ailment.

Alcohol is not recommended. Alcohol acts as vasorelaxation agent, lowers blood pressure and increases venom absorption. Besides, alcoholic intoxication lowers resis-tance to illness and it blocks the effect of the medications. Vodka is especially dangerous for children. All of these ignorant attempts of treatment can lead to injuries far worse than the snakebite itself.

// Ecological path of the Island of Kizhi
Y.Protasov, R.Martyanov, A.Korosov
Музей-заповедник «Кижи». Петрозаводск. 2008. 24 с.

Текст может отличаться от опубликованного в печатном издании, что обусловлено особенностями подготовки текстов для интернет-сайта.

Музеи России - Museums in RussiaМузей-заповедник «Кижи» на сайте Культура.рф