Way To Avoid Snakes Bite
According to the Registrar General’s Million Death Study (MDS) of World Health Organization — one of the largest studies on premature mortality in the world — there occurs almost 50,000 snakebite deaths per year in India. This figure is more than 20 times that reported by the Government of India. Ninety seven percent of the victims are rural residents making this a “rural problem,” while 77 percent of the deaths happen outside of health facilities. The MDS states that snake attacks were more common in males compared to females, and deaths peaks at ages 15-29 years, and during the monsoon season, snatching away the most productive section of the Indian population in rural areas. The country faces about 2.97 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) — number of years lost due to ill health disability or early death— accruing from 50,000 annual deaths.
As the purpose of this article is introductory, we shall be giving a brief intro on the types of snakes, dangers posed, types of snakebites and the general instructions on the standard procedure to be followed in case of a snakebite.
Types of snakes in India In India, almost 250 species of snakes are found, fifty from those are venomous, and five are very dangerous for humans. Four types of snakes are responsible for most of the killer bites – Common Cobra (called Nag), Saw Scaled Viper, Common Krait (Manyar) and Russell’s Viper. Hump nosed pit viper, also called hypnale was considered as harmless to humans but is capable of causing uncontrolled bleeding and sudden kidney failure leading to death. The current anti-venom serum (AVS) does not give protection against the bite of this viper. Some sea snakes are also poisonous to humans.
Most dangerous type of Snake for Indians It is the common krait because its bite shows almost no any local symptoms – no swelling, no bleeding and no pain. In the villages, it comes out at night for food (rats) and bites people who sleep on the floor or to people camping outdoors. The problem with Common Krait bite is that sometimes one cannot even see the wound and in many cases people, especially the children are unaware that they are even bitten. The bite of krait is deceptive; while the local symptoms are almost non-visible, it causes severe degree of venomation (injection of venom into human body).
n most of the cases, the victim gets severe stomach pain and vomiting and even if he/she is taken to a doctor, the victim is treated for the stomach pain. By morning, the neurotoxin spreads in the body and the victim dies of respiratory failure. Russell Viper is also very dangerous for it injects maximum venom in its victim and has less number of dry-bites.
How to avoid snake bites Snakebite is a major cause of death in parts of South East Asian countries including India. Such incidences are more common in rural areas. However, that does not mean urban areas are altogether safe from this, in fact, with increasing urbanization, the conflict between snakes and men is becoming more and more common. Nonetheless, there are certain points that the common people should keep in mind for avoiding this needless conflict. Remember the mantra - Prevention is better than cure.
Tips to help you avoid snakebites / Confrontation with Snakes
- Get adequate knowledge about snakes in your locality – type of snakes, where they are found usually, at what time? and whether they are poisonous or not. Once you know where they are found, you may avoid those places.
- If you think that the place you are sleeping at, has any kind of risk pertaining to snake, than it is best to avoid the contact with snake via using <strong>‘mosquito net’</strong>. This not only keeps the insects away but also prevents snake’s encounter with the person sleeping inside such net.
- Do not step over a snake, do not try to handle a snake, or even do not try to irritate a snake. A huge majority of snakebites incidents have taken place due to these reasons.
- Never try to corner a snake in an enclosed space. It will be left with no other option.
- Try to keep rats away from your house, as snakes might such rats for the simple fact that rats are the most type of food of snakes.
- Check and remove tree branches touching the house.
- Check the places where snakes may hide inside the house, like large unsealed spaces under floorboards. Kraits simply love such places.
- Avoid rubble, logs, and rubbish near house as it gives better hiding places for snakes.
- Keep the grass around the house short or cleared and keep the bushes around the house cleared.
- Be extra-cautious when you go near a pond or water body. There are high chances of encounter with a snake in such places, since the water bodies usually attract toads and frogs, favorite food of snakes.
- Be cautious while walking in night, especially after heavy rains - high chances of snake confrontation. Use a torch or any portable light source.
- Heavy rains usually wash away snakes into drainage or gutters in the road edges. They often flush out snakes from their burrows. So be extra careful when you walk, after heavy rains, especially in dim light.
- Be careful with logs or stones as snakes often hide beneath them.
- Do not intentionally run over a snake crossing the road, a half dead snake on the road may be a dangerous coincidence for the next passerby.
- All ran over snakes are not left dying on the road. They sometime get trapped under vehicle, reaching to your parking lot or garage posing threats to your dear ones.
- In hilly areas, snakes often find vehicles a warm place to rest comfortably. Check the vehicle well in advance.
What is Snake Venom / Poison? Snake venom is a sort of ‘salivary secretion’, which is used to kill and digest prey. In fact, there are two basic types of snake venom. One type of venom affects nerves (like those of venom of cobra and common krait); while the other type of venom affects or attacks blood (like that of vipers). Further, bites by vipers and some cobras may be severely painful and the target area may sometimes become severely swollen within 5 minutes. Such bite area may also bleed and blister. This is the first article of the two article series on the snake and snake bites in India, for second article click here