Black Adder snake bite treatment from avoiding painkillers to staying calm

Reading up on how to deal with a snake bite is something you might do if you’re travelling abroad to a hot country, not if you're enjoying the sun at home.

But the UK is actually home to three species of snake – the black adder, the grass snake, and the smooth snake – the black adder being the only one of the three that is actually venomous.

The black adder is actually found in most parts of Europe, including the colder countries, and is the only snake that is known to be capable of surviving in the Arctic Circle, although they usually hibernate between October and March.

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Black adders can be found in all parts of Britain, from the southern coast of England to the northern coast of Scotland, although they are notably absent in Ireland.

They are most commonly found in woodland, hedgerows, moorland, sand dunes, riverbanks, bogs, heathland and mountains, so it would be very unlikely for you to come across one in a town or city.

But if you do happen to stumble upon a black adder, be sure to keep your distance, because their bites can be incredibly painful, and in rare cases, even deadly.

Should a black adder injects you with its venom, you are likely to experience:

  • Swelling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting.

These symptoms may be particularly severe in children, the elderly and other vulnerable people.

If you are bitten, theNHSadvises that you “keep the part of your body that was bitten as still as you can” as movement could potentially spread the venom to other parts of your body.

You should also lie in the recovery position so you don’t choke on your own tongue or vomit if you do lose consciousness, and try to take paracetamol for any pain.

The NHS also advises bite victims to “take off any jewellery and loosen clothes near the bite”, as swelling could cause jewellery to dig into the skin.

You can also wash the wound with water to remove any venom that might still be on the surface of the skin.

Attempting to chase or catch the snake afterward is not advised as it could strike again. Victims or persons with the victims should also not try to suck or cut the venom out of the wound.

Another no-no is tying anything tightly around the wound to prevent the venom from spreading as this could actually do more harm than good.

Bite victims should also avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen, as these medicines could make bleeding worse.

Most importantly, one should remain calm, as it’s highly unlikely that any kind of bite from a native snake in the UK will ever be deadly.

Panicking however will increase your heart rate and speed up your blood circulation, which would increase the risk of the venom reaching your heart, possibly leading to more complications.

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