Snake bites in PMB on the rise

2017-02-22 06:03
PHOTO:suppliedAt the snake bite information morning (from left) Sabelo Zondi (Netcare 911 paramedic), Zane Barnard (snake handler), Doctor Neshalan Latchmanan (surgeon) and Zoe Roberts (Netcare 911 paramedic).

PHOTO:suppliedAt the snake bite information morning (from left) Sabelo Zondi (Netcare 911 paramedic), Zane Barnard (snake handler), Doctor Neshalan Latchmanan (surgeon) and Zoe Roberts (Netcare 911 paramedic).

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NETCARE St Anne’s are currently dealing with various patients who have fallen victim to snake bites.

They recently held an information morning for staff and members, led by local snake handler Zane Barnard, who educated them about venomous and non-venomous snakes and what to do when bitten.

Barnard said identification of the snake responsible for the bite is usually difficult, unless a dead snake is brought to hospital with its victim, and can be reliably identi-fied.

Descriptions of the snake and the circumstances of the bite may suggest a species diagnosis, but this is not often a satisfactory basis for specific treatment.

In most cases of snake bite appropriate clinical management requires reliable identification of a distinctive clinical syndrome based on epidemiological, clinical and laboratory data. A syndromic approach is, therefore, recommended in the majority of cases.

Most of the snakes found in South Africa are not venomous and even the ones that are dangerously venomous are the minority.

“Even being bitten by snake that possesses a potentially dangerous venom, does not mean you are going to have any ill effects or die.

Snakes can bite and not give off any venom or just give off a small amount.

“In most snake bites you have a few hours before the effects become life threatening which is enough time to get to medical help.

There is virtually no first aid that can save your life, it could slow down the effects in certain cases but it is not a cure.

The pressure bandage method does help, however, knowing which species of snake bit you, is very important,” he said.

Barnard added that South Africa makes one antivenom to counter the effects of the Boomslang and another antivenom to neutralise the effects of all Cobras, Mambas, Rinkhals and the two big adders namely the Puff adder and the Gaboon adder.

Should anyone experience a snake problem, or for more information contact Barnard on 082 850 7713.

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