Viper bite

Viper bite

Viper bite: symptoms, when it is mortal and how to recognize it. Difference between snake bite and viper bite.

Species of vipers in Italy

In Italy there are a good number of species ofsnakes, but when it comes tosnakes that are poisonous to humans, there are only 4 and they belong to the Viperini family. The Italian viper par excellence, that is the most widespread species, is theVipera aspis(common viper) which is present in all regions of Italy except for Sardinia. The Vipera berus species is present in the Alpine and Apennine regions, while in the Alpine and pre-Alpine regions there is the Vipera ammodytes and, finally, the ursini viper is present only in the Abruzzo and Umbria-Marche Apennines.

Viper bite

Theviper biteit is very quick, on a descriptive level, however, it can be divided into three steps:

  • mouth opening at an angle greater than 180 ° (so the mouth opening is considerably larger than that of a common snake)
  • extraction of venom fangs (2 large teeth, pointed and with grooves that allow the venom to penetrate into the tissues)
  • penetration of the fangs into the tissues (the actual bite)

Everyviper bitecan inject from 5 to 40 mg of active ingredient.Warning!Sometimes the viper performs adry bite, that is, a bite in which no poison is injected.

Snake bite or viper bite: how to recognize it

Forrecognize the viper biteit is necessary to observe the depth of the marks left by the animal. The presence of two small, deeper holes 0.5-1 cm apart can be a discriminating factor. These two deeper holes correspond to the marks left bypoisonous teeth.

Sometimes, in addition to the two deeper holes, there may be milder marks left by other teeth.

Thebite of grass snake or other non-venomous snakesit has no deeper holes than others. If you have beenbitefrom asnakepoisonouslike the viper, you will notice larger holes that represent the sinking of venomous teeth, while the bite of a grass snake or other snake leaves the mark of the entire dental arch which has a typical V-shape.

There are many cases, the one just described is what happens in normal conditions ... however it may be that the viper has not scored with both poisonous teeth or that it has lost a poison tooth and therefore you will find yourself only with a single deeper sign !

Viper bite: symptoms

The first symptoms related to the action of the bite are:ache, more or less extensive swelling, ecchymosis (bruise) and an onset of tissue necrosis localized near the bite marks.

Among otherssymptomsnot topical, we reporteffectswhich may appear about an hour afterviper bite: headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, difficulty moving, changes in consciousness. Otherssymptomsless common but still present are: presence of blood in the stool, vomiting of blood, yellowish discoloration of the skin.

The viper bite is fatal? It can be. In serious cases, in fact, betweensymptomsthere is a strong cardiocirculatory insufficiency which can lead to death, or serious alterations in blood coagulation with the same fatal outcome.

Is the viper bite deadly?

It is not possible to answer with a firm yes or a firm no. As stated, sometimes theviper biteswithout injecting the poison and, even if it inoculates its venom, the doses can vary and the effects can be different based on different factors.

The discriminating factors are:

  1. Age
  2. Body weight
  3. General conditions of the person
  4. Amount of poison inoculated
  5. Seat of the bite
  6. The depth of the bite
  7. Behavior of the person after the bite

Regarding points 1 and 3 (age and condition), children, the elderly and debilitated people are more at risk. For point 2, it is good to know that fat limits the spread of poison, so a viper bite on the buttocks rich in adiposity can be less risky than a viper bite on the forearm. The bite site has a strong impact, the most dangerous parts are the neck and head.

As for the amount of venom inoculated, this also varies by many factors: Did the viper only have one venom tooth? Had the viper recently bitten another prey? In general, the viper bite is more dangerous after hibernation and if the viper has not bitten other animals because it has been able to accumulate in the pockets of the venomous teeth. After hibernation, the poison is more abundant and dense.

As for point 7, the person who wasbitten by the viperhe should not be exercising so as not to circulate the poison.

Viper bite: what to do

Agitation causes an uncontrolled activity of our blood system, so the first rule is calm in order to limit the spread of the poison.

Remove any bracelets, rings and loosen the belt of your trousers.

Wash the wound with hydrogen peroxide or at least plain water.

DO NOT disinfect with alcohol or alcohol.

Press the wound immediately after the bite to release the venom and avoid sucking the venom with your mouth, in the oral cavity there may be micro-tears left by the toothbrush.

Go to the hospital immediately.

Video: Wilderness Medicine: Snake Bite Treatment (September 2021).