Printer Friendly

Are all snake bites harmful? Do snake bites heal OK, or do they leave a scar?

Dear Dr. Cory:

Are all snake bites harmful? Do snake bites heal OK, or do they leave a scar?

Dear Angela:

Most snake bites are not poisonous, but they can hurt. If not cleaned properly, they can become infected. Bites from nonpoisonous snakes, such as garter snakes or pet snakes, often times just brush the skin with@ out breaking it. A bite from a nonpoisonous snake should be washed well with soap and water. If the bite breaks the skin, have your parents check with your doctor to make sure that you are current with your tetanus vaccine. With proper care, these bites usually heal without any problems or scars.

Bites from poisonous snakes are a different story. This type of bite can be deadly if the victim does not get medical care immediately. In fact, about ten people each year die from poisonous snake bites.

There are four types of poisonous snakes in the United States. They are the rattlesnake, the cottonmouth (or water moccasin), the copperhead. and the coral snake. Each year about 45,000 snake bites are reported in the United States. Of these, about 7,000 are from poisonous snakes.

Snake bites can be treated best when your doctor knows exactly what kind of snake caused the bite. This is particularly important if the bite was caused by a poisonous snake. Antivenin serum is a medicine used to treat poisonous snake bites. The type of antivenin used depends on the type of snake that caused the bite.

If you are unsure as to whether or not the snake that caused the bite was poisonous, call your local Poison Control Center, or go see your doctor right away.

Although snakes are helpful to humans by keeping the rodent (rats, mice, etc.) population down, it is good to have a healthy respect for them.

Your friend,

Cory SerVaas, M.D.

Dear Parents:

While enjoying the great outdoors, your family can take some precautions to avoid snakes. Discuss these "snake-smart" tips with your child. * Be cautious when venturing into places where snakes are likely to hide, such as:

Rocky areas

Hollow logs

Tree stumps

Animal holes




Sheds that store grain * Don't reach your hand into or under rocks, logs, or animal holes. * Look on both sides of a log before stepping over it. Snakes often nap in such places. * Wear boots or high-top work shoes and long, heavy pants (such as denim) when walking in a woods or in fields.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Ask Doctor Cory; includes related bite prevention tips
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Children's Playmate
Date:Apr 1, 1997
Previous Article:I heard that exercising makes you stronger but not skinnier. Is that true?
Next Article:No turbo glue needed.

Related Articles
Ask Doctor Cory.
When It Comes to Rattlesnakes, Dead May Not Be Dead!
Ask Doctor Cory.
Ask Doctor Cory.
Ask Doctor Cory.
'Hearsay testimony' by defendant M.D. ruled inadmissible.
Ask Doctor Cory.
Pick your antipoison: researchers work to make antivenom safer, cheaper, and more effective.
Texas coral snake (Micrurus tener) bites.
Ask Doctor Cory.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters