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The Number of Fatal Snake Bites Could Be Lower If This Was More Accessible

We would love to live our lives without ever having to encounter a venomous snake, and if we do, we would hope that there is life-saving anti-venom on hand to ensure that we survive a bite. The sad reality is that this is simply not the case for around 81,000 to 138,000 people, who die from snake bites each year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is raising awareness with regards to the number of snake bites that happen in the world per year (they estimate as many as 5.4 million snake bites per year, with around 1.8 to 2.7 million cases of envenomings). In addition to the many deaths caused by snake bites each year, the organization notes that amputations and permanent disability are around three times as common. And yet, while many cures for diseases or other health issues are not available, an effective treatment for these bites does exist, and many of these deaths and injuries are preventable.

The organization has called snake bites a “public health issue” that has been neglected in many countries—most of the fatalities are said to take place in Africa, Asia, and Latin America—and hopes that there will be measures taken to address the issue, including global access to better and cheaper treatment.

This global initiative also provides an opportunity to speak about what to do when bitten by a venomous snake, because according to LiveScience, many individuals react in the wrong way. Dr. Nicholas Kman, professor of emergency medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told the publication that you should first get away from the snake (not try to capture it), then seek treatment straight away, “because these symptoms can progress rapidly.” Depending on the species of a venomous snake, the symptoms could appear straight away or take longer to appear.

The publication notes that you should not take tips from movies and suck out the venom or cut around it, instead, keep the wound clean and the area elevated. Despite the event being terrifying, try to remain calm so that the spread of venom is slowed.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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