What to do when snake bites you?

There are plenty of venomous snakes in the world with different abilities. As a tropical country, Malaysia is also habituated by different types of venomous snakes and the most popular and dangerous among them are the cobras, the pit vipers, and the sea snakes.


Cobras can be recognized by their famous and unmistakable hoods, which flare when they are agitated. The hood is actually an extension of the ribs behind their heads.Pit vipers can be identified by their pits, which are located between their eyes and nostrils. These pits are temperature receptors, which can sense the body temperature of their prey.

Sea snakes can swim and are usually difficult to identify because they are underwater most of the time. In fact, they can hold their breath for up to an hour underwater. Their tails are flat to facilitate swimming, and they are from the cobra family. They are extremely venomous.

The snake venom contains proteins that are very toxic to the human body. These proteins can be divided into cytotoxins, haemotoxins, neurotoxins, and cardiotoxins

  • Cytotoxin this causes local tissue damage.
  • Haemotoxin the very name means a toxin that causes bleeding. This not only

    results in bleeding from the bite site but also internal bleeding in your body.

  • Neurotoxin this one affects your entire nervous system and can lead to paralysis.
  • Cardiotoxin this one affects your heart.

What should you do when you get bitten?

  •   You need help to go to a hospital as soon as possible, so flag down a passer-by and ask for assistance.
  •   Don’t try to catch the snake in order to identify it!
  •   If you can’t find anyone immediately, you still have to try to get help.
  •   Do not try sucking on the bite yourself or allowing anyone else to try to suck the venom out.
  •   Do not attempt to cut out the area of the bite either.
  •   These actions will result in more infection and can damage your underlying organs. They will not remove the venom either.
  •   Also, do not use ice or tourniquets. Tourniquets are not effective and can lose you a limb.
  •   Do not pour alcohol on the bite.
  •   Do take off any constricting jewellery, such as bracelets or rings.
  •   Try not to use the affected limb to delay spread of the venom

What do doctors do in the hospital?

It depends on what type of venomous snake it is. Doctors in the Emergency and Trauma (ETD) department are trained to help identify what sort of snake it was that bit you in order to administer the appropriate anti-venom. When a snake bites you, there is usually the presence of two fang marks at the bite site. Unlike human teeth, the fangs have ducts in them that contain venom from a gland.

The most common feeling you may have from snakebites is a sense of overwhelming fear. This may lead to nausea, vomiting, a very high pulse rate, fainting, and cold, clammy skin. This effect is largely due to stories, TV, media and all the hype surrounding snakes!

Not all venomous snake bites result in venom injection from their fangs. But when they do, there is redness, pain, and swelling at the bite site, which may take up to an hour to appear. Bites from cobras and vipers are extremely painful, and the inflammation may appear very quickly within five minutes. The bite area may also bleed and blister and this can lead to tissue death. The bites from vipers, in particular, cause bleeding.

In conclusion, when you get snakes bite, you have to remain calm and do not suck the venom out, and you have to go to hospital immediately for further treatment. Doctors at the hospital will observe and will give anti-venom if it is necessary.




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