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23 Oct 2018, Edition - 1197, Tuesday


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Fatal snake bites on rise in Coimbatore

Keerthana Ramesh

Image credit : Illustrative image

COIMBATORE: Fatalities or severe health complications due to snake bites have been on the rise in the city. The most venomous snakes in Asia, the Russell’s viper, cobra and crates are commonly found around the city. At least 100 cases of snake bites are reported every month at Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH), averaging three cases daily, say doctors.

Most often, snake bites occur during rainy season. While 4 per cent of the cases are fatal, the rest lead to severe complications. During summer and winter, the number of snake bite cases comes down by one-third.

“The treatment includes providing blood component, antibiotics and dialysis when in need and ventilator if the patient has problems in the air pipe,” say doctors. There are two types of venoms, while one directly affects the blood and other the nervous system.

If the victim fails to identify the type of snake, doctors can do so by observing the inflammation and symptoms. The treatment differs according to the type of snake bite. Most of the Government Medical Centres have anti- snake venom serums and ASV medications.

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Doctors suggest that when the victim is identified as bitten by a snake, he or she should be taken to the nearest hospital immediately; should not consume any liquid and solid food if there is breathing complexity and must place his or her hands against the heart. This complexity of snake venom only happens to agricultural workers, large scale industrial workers and people around the hillside places.

Once doctors identify the type of snake, ‘polyvalent anti- snake venom’ can be given. It is common anti-venom tool for all type of snakes. “Recovery is better if patients are bought immediately to the hospital. If it is unable to do so, the wound should be cleaned using regular soap to avoid inflammation and a knot should be tied right above the wound with medium force,” say doctors at CMCH.