The official summer season has not yet begun, but the hot days have led to various reptiles emerging, such as snakes, scorpions, centipedes, and more.
Over the past three days, three young men who were stung by Palestinian vipers have arrived at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center’s Emergency Room. One is a young man in his thirties who was bitten while working in the field of one of the local moshavim. He arrived with significant swelling around the ankle area, and while in the Emergency Room he developed additional signs of snake bites, such as low blood pressure and sweating. After receiving medical treatment, his condition improved and he was hospitalized for continued treatment and follow-up. The second man came with severe swelling of the sole of his foot, and after a short time his blood pressure fell and he was sweating profusely. In the case of the third man, he was bitten on his hand causing localized swelling. In the Emergency Room he related that he had seen three snakes near his home, tried to get rid of them by himself, and was bitten by one of them. As a result, while in the Emergency Room, he developed stomach pains, vomiting, sweating, and a drop in blood pressure. All three required treatment with antibodies against the venom, and were hospitalized for continued treatment and observation. One has already been released.
What are the symptoms?
“In most cases, a snake bite will cause localized swelling and redness. Within two to three hours, symptoms can appear which can indicate that it was a poisonous snake, including a drop in blood pressure, shortness of breath, heavy sweating, stomachaches, muscle contractions, and diarrhea,” explains Director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, Dr. Jalal Ashkar. Dr. Ashkar also notes that sometimes people can think that it is a mild sting characterized by localized redness, and that therefore there is no need to seek out medical treatment. “Don’t take risks in cases of snakebites. It is important to note that symptoms can develop after two hours or more, meaning that if the patient isn’t treated in time, the venom can spread and harm various systems in the body.”
“Go immediately to the Emergency Room”. Director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Hillel Yaffe, Dr. Jalal Ashkar
What things are forbidden to do?
Don’t slice across the fang marks and suck the venom out.
Don’t spread anything on the site of the bite.
Don’t put a tourniquet on the area, since this can lead to the venom spreading through the body once it is removed. This is a dangerous situation that can even lead to multi-system failure.
What should we do?
Lay the person down without moving him at all.
Immobilize the bitten limb, using a splint or any rigid object.
Call MADA so they will administer intravenous fluids.
Take the person to the Emergency Room for medical treatment and hospital supervision.
How can you take care of yourselves on these hot days?
“We are currently having hot, dry weather, and not only snakes are dangerous on such days. The intense heat can be life-threatening, with the emphasis on infants, children, the elderly, and high risk populations. Avoid direct and long exposure to the heat and sun, refrain from unnecessary physical activity particularly among high risk populations, make sure to drink a lot – up to 10 cups of water daily, stay in air-conditioned and shady places, and, of course, be extra careful not to forget children or animals in a closed vehicle. While gardening, it is best to wear gloves so as to avoid snake bites. Should you encounter a Palestinian viper, don’t try to confront it. The snake feels threatened and wants to get even. In any event, after a snake bite, go as quickly as possible to the Emergency Room for diagnosis and medical treatment,” concludes Dr. Ashkar. Photograph: “Go immediately to the Emergency Room”. Director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Hillel Yaffe, Dr. Jalal Ashkar.