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Snake bite

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mistral
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Snake bite

Unread postby mistral » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:24 pm

If a child is bitten by a snake or stung by a scorpion would the nearest doctor be in Upington?

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Dotty
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby Dotty » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:27 pm

Read through this topic Mistral It might help your query :D
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby mistral » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:44 am

Thank You! It would appear that Upington 300km away is the nearest medical help. I note from the other thread:

"We asked this selfsame question on our recent trip to KTP and the answer was that the patient would be stabilised in the Park and once safe to do so they would be transported to Twee Rivieren (by road). The Office at TR would in turn have notified Upington of the situation who would then deal with it accordingly."

What "stabilisation" would take place at Twee Rivieren. Only doctors should administer anti-venom as it can send the patient into shock.

Upington is some 3 hours drive away and one wonders if the patient would survive the trip - most snake venom is fast acting. I have heard talk that visitors have been bitten in the past.

How do the rangers who are in the bush daily and at risk cope with this challenge? Maybe KG could enlighten us?

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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby Bushbuddies » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:10 am

I would assume "stabilisation" would refer to basic first aid, and yes - only doctors should administer anti-venom.
Luckily, I don't think snake bites affecting tourists are common in KTP - but Kgalagadi Guru will have to confirm.
And luckily not ALL snakebites are readily fatal.
Common poisonous snakes, such as puffaders, have cytotoxic posion.
These bites are locally destructive but not life-threatening within hours.
Your highly poisonous mambas and cobras are the ones one should worry about more.
They are neurotoxic. In other words - they are toxic to your nervous system and they paralyse you.
The reason why people die from these bites, is because it paralyses your respiratory muscles - which prevents you from breathing, and you die as a result of that.
The most important thin to do for such a patient on the way to medical help, would be to support their breathing if it starts failing, with mouth-to-mouth breathing at the least.
In hospital, apart from administering anti-venom if indicated, the only thing we really do for these patients is to ventilate them until the poison has worn off.
Just thought this might be helpful to know! :thumbs_up:
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mistral
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby mistral » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:38 pm

Thanks for the info: SA Snake expert Johan Marais says:

"The biggest danger is a predominantly neurotoxic venom, like that of the Cape Cobra or one of the Mambas. In severe cases victims may experience difficulty with breathing within 20 minutes and in such cases it may be life-saving to resort to artificial respiration while transporting the victim to a hospital. First-aider are trained to do mouth to mouth but a Bag Valve Mask may be a far better choice, provided that the first aider has had adequate training in its use. In severe bites it is usually a lack of oxygen that kills the victim."

I wonder whether it would be advisable for SANParks to have a bag valve mask at Twee Rivieren in case there is a cobra bite. On memory I think they cost about R1 000 and I am sure it should be possible to raise this amount if budget is not available. They can keep a patient alive for hours. Lets face it there are a lot of cobras in the Kalahari!

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Dotty
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby Dotty » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:56 pm

Please follow the Guidelines peeps
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby Lonehill_Birders » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:19 pm

I don't really know how a child would get into a situation like this, we've been to Kgalagadi many times, and the few occasions when we came into contact with snakes, the snakes disappeared very quickly. There is a very small chance of being stung by a scorpion, but, again, we have never come into contact with any of them.
I realise there's always a chance of being bitten or stung, and would agree with Bushbuddies and Johan Marais about treatment, etc. The best prevention would be to make sure the child doesn't pick up pieces of dry wood where a scorpion may hide, and the child doesn't wander away from parents unsupervised, which I'm sure does not happen very often anyway :)
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby Mfezi » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:27 pm

Using a bag valve mask (from experience) is all good and well, but it is not easy. Performing this manoeuvre on a manikin one afternoon is one thing. Doing this in a real life situation on a real human being (with an adrenaline rush, stress and knowing that you having a human life in your hands), is a complete different ball game. Practising this once or twice one afternoon and then going to use it eg. 5 years later, I reckon may be problematic. During ambulance courses, this manoeuvre is practised over and over and over...

If it is a cytotoxic bite (Puff adder) transport by road should be fine, but meet the paramedics en route should the patient require pain medication. In the case of a neurotoxic bite (Cape cobra), the paramedics should be met en route in order to intubate the patient. If the bite victim shows respiratory problems after a Cape cobra bite, consider air transport (helicopter or fixed wing).

If stabilization at Twee Rivieren entails the crepe bandage immobilization method, be careful not to waste too much time. If at all possible, perform this en route to the hospital

When safe to do so, let someone take a photo of the animal responsible for the bite or sting in order to have the animal positively identified when it is needed. No guessing is allowed!! :naughty:

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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby jb72 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:36 pm

Lonehill_Birders wrote:There is a very small chance of being stung by a scorpion, but, again, we have never come into contact with any of them.


Do you braai in the trees at night ? :twisted: :lol:
I have seen many scorpions wondering around at night while I am braaiing.
I know this is slightly off topic, but you should get yourself one of those flurecent torches. You will be amazed how many spiders/scorpions to encounter at night. Also a good way of showing the kids what they look like, and what they need to avoid. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby DefenderGDI » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:20 pm

The UV LED torches that are available are excellent for finding Scorpions in the dark as they flouresce under UV lighting.

:)
Can't wait to get back in May for a 4th trip.

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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:29 pm

The best defence is prevention by education.

AFAIK there are no mambas in Kgalagadi.

The few cobras I have seen have been hell bent on getting away. Don't muck with them!

Watch where you walk, and warn your children to be aware at ALL times.

If they are too young to take notice (under 5 or more than 13 :twisted: ) watch them yourself.

Scorpions come out (mainly) of windy nights, whan their prey, flying insects, gets 'grounded'. THey will also try to get away from you, or lie still. Again, don't muck with them.

Puffies are the biggest problem. they are camouflaged, and sit tight, so you could step on one.

Watch where you walk.

When you are in acamp, you are only in 'relative' safety. No need to panic, but be aware.
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby NetEk » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:56 pm

Bush Baptist wrote: Don't muck with them!


I'm with you BB snakes or any crawlly for that are not toys...... don't "play" with them more people get tagged trying to be a hot shot from animal planet it's not as easy to pick up a snake as what they make it look.
I live in my own little world. But it's okay they know me here.

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jesica
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby jesica » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:03 pm

I think people miss understand snakes, snake do not go out and bite people, if they see movement they would try and get away rather than attack humans.
If they bite, even a child would have a couple of hours to get treatment.
Snakes also use their venom sparely, I mean, it seems that's the bigger the snake, the less venom they see to eject. They now they have the power to kill haha.

I think it will also be best to get hold of someone at the Kgalagadi and her how to the go about when they have a snake bite victim.
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby Sparks » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:26 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:The best defence is prevention by education. Don't muck with them!


Wise words :thumbs_up: listen to the man. Snakes and reptiles are another part of nature as are the scorpions and spiders. Get to know them better even if they creep you out, this will change your fears and phobias. There are a few very good books on snakes( John Marais come to mind) and spiders (Johnathan Leeming). Besides having put their knowledge and passion on paper these guys also run courses and it might be a good idea to see when they are in your area.

Scorpions do move about in camp at night and an unsuspecting pedestrian with sandals is a tragedy waiting to happen. Besides the relatively harmless though painful species the Kgalagadi is home to the big boy of the scorpion world Parabuthus and particularly the Granulated Thick-Tailed Scorpion. this is a nasty customer and stings to elderly or young folks can be life threatening.

Get to know the snake and their habits and you will see that they are not out to nail you and that snakes have full control over their venom glands, venom is an expensive commodity to make so a large amount of bites are dry bites but as with playing Russian roulette the cost of playing is too high for me to find out. most bites are to folks who play animal planet and think they are the latest snake wrangler.

Next time you see a lot of Goshawks walking in almost a line in Kgalagadi have a look they are following a cobra, these snakes will enter rodent burrows and flush the adults out from other holes only for the goshawks to enjoy their free meal, just one example of interesting interaction with reptiles.
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Re: Snake bite

Unread postby myles » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:01 am

Hi,

We have a non-negotiable rule that we all must stick to when in the park: Closed shoes and torch after dark.

After all - avoidance is the best medecine!

Myles


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