Snake Bites - Experience

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Introduction to snake bites

Although venomous (poisonous) snakes are relatively common in the U.S., bites from venomous snakes are a rare cause of death in this country. While there are about 8,000 venomous snake bites reported each year in the U.S., no more than 12 deaths were reported each year from 1960-1990 as a result of poisonous snake bites. About half of all reported snake bites occur in children.

Pit vipers are a family of snakes whose scientific name is Crotalidae. This group, which is responsible for most poisonous snake bites in the U.S., includes the rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water moccasins (cottonmouths). Within this group, rattlesnakes have the most deadly venom and cause the majority of snakebite-related deaths. Rattlesnakes can be found in both the Eastern and Western areas of the country. In particular, the Mojave rattlesnake has one of the most potent venoms of all rattlesnakes. Copperheads, common in the Eastern U.S., have a milder venom than that of rattlesnakes. Water moccasins live around natural waters in the Southeast; their venom has an intermediate potency between that of the rattlesnakes and copperheads. Coral snakes found in the southern U.S., related to the Asian cobras and not part of the pit viper family, are a rare cause of poisonous snake bites in the U.S.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Ann, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

On April 16 2014 I was cleaning the leaves in my back yard not wearing shoes. All of the sudden I felt like I just stepped on a sharp glass that cut my little toe. I looked around and saw a snake very close to my feet ready to attack again. I knew then that I got bit, screamed for the kids to call daddy. It was so painful I was crying from the pain. I went to the emergency room, I knew it was poisonous cotton mouth. They waited 9 hours to give the anti-venom and in almost 24 hours my leg swelled, my toe turned purple and huge, kind of like eggplant color then. Now on April 29 it look like blister. They gave pain killer and strong antibiotic, it still hurts. Wonder how long till it heals.

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Comment from: jerushah8833, 3-6 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 30

On May 25, 2014, my grandson, 4 and a half years was riding his trike when he ran over copperhead. He said, "Its eyes popped out,", so he reached down to pick it up and got struck 4 to 6 times by a baby (small) snake. We live in rural area, doctor watched for an hour and a half and sent him home to eat, sleep, and just be watched to see if swelling got any worse or acted like it was cutting off circulation. Nothing more than children"s Tylenol was given.

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