Are Baby Snakes Really More Dangerous Than Adults?
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Raven Mark
1M ago
A rattlesnake den in Eastern WA state, full of rattlesnakes of all ages and sizes. Contrary to popular belief, the bite of a baby rattlesnake is almost always far less serious than the bite of a larger adult rattlesnake. The notion that baby rattlesnakes cannot control the quantity of venom injected (referred to in the field of Herpetology as “venom metering”) is a myth that has been disproven multiple times through well-designed studies. See this excellent paper by the esteemed rattlesnake venom researcher Dr. William Hayes for evidence of this fact: Hayes WK. Venom metering by juvenil ..read more
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Asclepius: Symbolic of the Serpent in Medicine
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Raven Mark
1M ago
A statue of Asclepius with the Rod of Asclepius clearly visible. Snakes were not always associated with fear and loathing. There has been a long association between the serpent and the healing arts. If you look closely, you can find snakes adorning all sorts of medical symbols around the world from the Star of Life that adorns modern ambulances to the emblem of the World Health Organization and US Army Medical Corps. In ancient Greek mythology and religion, Asclepius was the god of medicine and of the healing arts and carried around a staff wrapped by a serpent. The Star of Life is the ..read more
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Benadryl Does Not Fix Snakebites
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Nick Brandehoff
1M ago
Benadryl is not effective for snake envenomations in humans or animals. I wanted to address the poor information about the use of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) making the rounds on several snakebite and outdoor forums. Benadryl is ineffective for treating a venomous snakebite, even as a temporizing measure in the back country, for the following reasons: Pit viper envenomations in the US cause local tissue injury from direct venom effect. The cell death causes swelling and pain from the release of intracellular contents as the cell dies. Furthermore, venom causes blood vessels to become “leaky ..read more
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The Truth about Commercial Snakebite Kits (including the venom extractor)
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Raven Mark
1M ago
All of these things are bad for snakebites and should be avoided! As snakebite experts, we are frequently asked about first aid for snakebite patients. One of the most common questions is “Do venom extractors and other commercial snakebite kits actually help?” The short answer is no. In fact, most of the advice about snakebite first aid that has circulated over the past 500 years or so (and probably much longer) is bad information. Things like pocket knives, suction devices, tourniquets, gunpowder, vitamin C, freezing, burning, and even electrocution have been advocated for snakebite first ai ..read more
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How to Treat Snakebites for First Responders in the United States
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Nick Brandehoff
1M ago
Approximately 9,000 snakebite envenomations occur yearly in the United States.  Most of these envenomations are due to pit vipers, including rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads.  Fortunately, due to rapid access to medical care, deaths are rare, with only 3 to 5 occurring nationwide each year.  Our emergency medical system is the first link in the chain of treating patients.  In comparison to many areas of the world, the U.S. has an advanced system of highly-trained EMTs and paramedics skilled in the prompt assessment, stabilizati ..read more
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A Primer on Antivenoms Used by Veterinarians
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Raven Mark
1M ago
Many people ask about the antivenoms that are used for envenomations in dogs and cats, so here is your immunology lesson for the week. We have three veterinary-specific products available to us: Venom Vet, Rattler, and ACP. These are all licensed to be used for ALL North American pit viper bites (rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths). It is rare to use CroFab or Anavip (the human pit viper antivenoms) in veterinary medicine due to the cost and the fact that there are labeled products for animals, but either could be used in animals. Coral snake antivenom is a human product that we use ..read more
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How is Antivenom Made?
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Raven Mark
1M ago
Snakebites are a global health crisis, affecting millions of people every year. Venomous snakes can deliver a lethal dose of venom with a single bite, making immediate treatment a matter of life or death. Thankfully, immunology pioneers in the 1890’s were the first to develop snake antivenom…and we still use the same process today! Snake venom is a complex cocktail of various proteins, enzymes, and other substances, each with its unique effects on the human body. These venom components can cause severe tissue damage, interfere with blood clotting, can cause paralysis, and even lead to organ f ..read more
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What to Expect When You’re Expecting…. And Snakebitten
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Kimberly Wyatt
1M ago
Pregnancy is a unique and life-changing journey, but it can also bring unexpected challenges and risks. One such risk, though rare, is the possibility of a snakebite. Snakebites during pregnancy require careful and prompt attention due to potential risks for both the mother and the unborn child. It is important for patients and their healthcare providers to understand the essential aspects of snakebite treatment in pregnancy, emphasizing safety measures for both the mother and her developing baby. Understanding the Risks Snakebites during pregnancy can be particularly concerning due to the p ..read more
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Snakebite Treatment: Past, Present, and Future
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Kimberly Wyatt
1M ago
Snakebites have challenged humans for centuries. Without a proper understanding of how snake venoms worked, physicians used the same ineffective treatments through much of history. These practices included manually sucking the venom out of a wound or serving Theriac, a concoction made of herbs, spices, opium, ground-up snakes, and even powdered mummies, to the victim. These remedies remained popular in western medicine into the seventeenth century.1 Antivenom, or antivenin, was developed in the 1890s as a new treatment for envenomation. Though who first created antivenom is heavily debated, m ..read more
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Exploring Viper Venoms
The Asclepius Snakebite Foundation Blog
by Raven Mark
1M ago
Venomous snakes, particularly vipers, have long captured the imagination of humanity. From ancient myths to modern scientific study, these creatures have intrigued and sometimes terrified us. Central to their fearsome reputation is their venom – a complex cocktail of bioactive molecules designed for subduing prey and defending against threats. Here, we delve into the fascinating world of venom components in vipers, exploring their diversity, functions, and potential applications. ASF herpetologists at work! Dr. Cara Smith extracts venom for her research. Vipers comprise a diverse family of sn ..read more
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