In Spain, it is estimated that snake bites cause between three and five deaths per year, and children are the most severely affected , so any suspicion of This type of bite should always be assessed in a hospital setting, even in the absence of other symptoms. In other countries these figures increa
In Spain, it is estimated that snake bites cause between three and five deaths per year, and children are the most severely affected, so any suspicion of This type of bite should always be assessed in a hospital setting, even in the absence of other symptoms.
In other countries these figures increase. And although in rural areas this kind of bite is usually underestimated, it is not a joke. Urgent pediatric care is essential.
How to treat a snake bite in a child
As we go to the pediatrician, we should:
- Wash the bite area with plenty of water and soap.
- Do not apply cold or heat local.
- Iimmobilize the affected limb, keeping it in the lowest position possible with respect to the rest of the body.
- Try to identify the type of snake. The shape of the bite can help doctors identify the species.
- Never use a tourniquet, unless hospital care is delayed for more than an hour and a potentially poisonous species has been identified, or if there is general symptomatology (ie not only pain and inflammation in the wound area). In such cases, always record the time the tourniquet was placed.
The most dangerous snakes for children in Spain
Of the five venomous snake families in the world, Spain has two representatives: Familia 1. Family Colubridae (snakes):
The most frequent is the bastard snake (Malpolon monpessulanus), present virtually throughout the country. In the south of Spain and in the Balearics, the cogulla snake (Macroprotodon cucullatus) is also common. The snakes have a narrow and elongated head, the pupils are rounded, the scales are large and the tail is long. Although it is extremely subjective, both the character and the 'face' of the snakes are not very aggressive . They are usually less dangerous species, since they require a time to inoculate the poison after the bite, so they usually retain their prey before doing so.The venom of snakes is slightly cytotoxic and neurotoxic. The first effect can lead to
a significant inflammation in the area of the bite , which could cause serious problems if you do not act with diligence and speed. The neurotoxic effect can cause muscle paralysis, with difficulty speaking, swallowing or breathing. Both effects are exceptional, and it is also rare for the snake to inoculate a significant amount of venom, but they are complications serious enough to remind that hospital assessment is always necessary in case of snake bites.2. Family Viperidae (vipers):
Practically throughout the country it is possible to find the hoc viper hornbill (Vipera latasti). In addition, in the northwest and in the Cantabrian area there are also examples of the common or European viper (Vipera berus) and in the Pyrenean and pre-Pyrenean region of the viper áspid (Vipera aspis). From a morphological point of view, snakes are very different from snakes: the head is less narrow and has a triangular shape, the pupils are vertical, the scales are small and the tail is short. They are not aggressive and tend to flee in the presence of the human being, although their behavior is unpredictable , they are quick and their 'face' is aggressive. The venom of vipers is intensely cytotoxic, hemotoxic, myotoxic, cardiotoxic and nephrotoxic. The cytotoxic effect is responsible for the intense local inflammation , more frequent manifestation in our environment, withhigh risk of gangrene and necrosis
. Bites on the face and neck present a high mortality risk due to the respiratory compromise that inflammation can generate. The hemotoxic effect produces severe anemia, as well as alteration of coagulation, and there is a risk of generalized hemorrhage. Myotoxic and cardiotoxic effects give rise to muscle paralysis and cardiac arrhythmias. The nephrotoxic effect leads to acute renal failure and shock. Vipers, in Spain, really kill. So in case of doubt, do not hesitate, go to the emergency room. There are general antivenom and other specific serums for certain types of snakes.Although it is not usual to have them in a health center, they should never be used outside of a pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) and without a first sensitivity test, since these are treatments that, with high probability, can generate anaphylaxis and worsen the already severe symptomatology of a snakebite. Indiana Jones hates snakes. If a person who is capable of defending themselves from half the world with a whip and a hat fears these animals, it will be something. If they cross your path, let them pass.