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BITES AND STINGS OF SNAKES, SCORPIONS, WASPS AND DOGS

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A person may be bitten by a snake. Even though the number of varieties of snakes whose bite is fatal is limited, the affected person or those looking after him are in no position to know whether the snake was harmless or not. Immediate action should, therefore, be taken to deal with the case of a snake bite.

The moment a snake bites a person, its poison sacinjects its contents through the fang. The site of the bite turns red, there is a burning sensation, an excruciating pain after some time and then insensitivity, followed by swelling and the skin turns blue. When the poison starts spreading in the body there is vertigo and headache and black spots before the eyes. As soon as the person loses consciousness, his head fall to one side, the arms and legs become limp, the pulse becomes thready and weak, the power of speech and swallowing is lost. The bite of certain snakes produces writhing in the whole body.

Snake venom acts through the blood stream and can be ingested without ill effects. A person with healthy gums can suck the poison with his mouth and spit it out. If the bitten part- it is usually the feet or legs-ca be tied, a ligature should be made a couple of inches above the site, by tying a string or a handkerchief and twisting it. Another tourniquet should be placed five inches above the lower one so that the blood vessels are pressed and the poison does not spread. After the ligatures have been made a deep incision should be made on the site where the fangs have gone in and the resultant blood should be allowed to flow. The wound should be filled with potassium permanganate. In case it is not available, the wound should be flushed with hot water and the poison sucked. Alternatively, the site where the fangs have gone into the skin should be burnt with live coals or a hot iron so that the skin is seared. It the snake has bitten a part where no ligature can be placed, that part of the body where the fangs have gone in should be cut out with the help of a sharp knife and the wound should be allowed to bleed for some time.

The ligature, it should be mentioned, should not be allowed to remain in place for more than half an hour, because if it is continued for long, the limb is likely to become dead.



A person bitten by a snake has the tendency to sleep; the poison makes him drowsy. He should not be allowed to sleep under any circumstances and should be kept in a warm room. The room should be heated so that the patient sweats and eliminates the poison through perspiration. No water should be given to him: Gaozaban Arq may be given or cow's milk in small quantities.

A scorpion sting brings on acute inflammation at the site and the patient becomes restless; some people have a tendency to stagger, or vomiting and diarrhea and cramps set in. the sting of the scorpion is not, generally speaking, fatal but children and old people are liable to die if the scorpion is of a poisonous variety. The sting should be taken out with the point of a needle or pin after a ligature has been placed two or three inches above the site of the sting. Vinegar, kerosene oil or turpentine oil should be applied to the wound to give relief to the burning sensation. Fresh garlic should be ground to a paste and applied over the site of the sting. Another way is to mix the juice of one lime and honey and apply the paste so obtained.

If you can catch the scorpion, kill it and grind it to paste: it would allay the pain and counteract the poison of the sting. When the mango tree is in flower rub the flowers between your hand so that your palms are coated with its exudation: the palms then rubbed over the scorpion sting will help the pain and the irritation will subside.

The sting of a bee of a wasp causes not only pain but also inflammation on the part stung. If a large number of bees or wasps sting a person at many places on his body, he may develop symptoms of severe poisoning. The first thing to be done when one is stung by a wasp is to take out the sting with a needle or a pin. Or, the hollow end of a key may be pressed over the site of the sting. The sting will stand out of the epidermis and can be pulled out by means of a pair of tweezers or even nails of fingers. Vinegar, paste of opium dissolved in water or the composition on the tip of a match stick ground into a drop of water may be applied on the sting. If many wasp or bees have stung the person six mashas of leaves of marigold should be ground to a paste with water, strained and the water given to the person to drink. The paste of the leaves should also be applied on the stings.

A dog bite can be a serious matter if the dog is infected by rabies, or in common parlance, is mad. Dogs contract the disease from other dogs or jackals, wolves and other carnivora. Rabies may be 'mad' or 'dumb'. In the case of the former, the dog runs about, snapping at all and sundry and is unable to lie quietly. 'Dumb' rabies is the final stage of the 'mad' rabies and when it is reached, the dog crawls about or lies still because its limbs have become paralyzed. Its bite will infect the person bitten with rabies, even if he does not look mad nor behaves like one.

What is known as the incubation period (the onset of the disease from the time of being bitten) is generally six to eight weeks, but may be as short as ten days and as long as a year. The disease begins by mental symptoms, the person becoming irritable, restless and melancholy. At the same time, feverishness and difficulty in swallowing comes on. In a couple of days the patient passes into a state of wildness or terror with great difficulty in swallowing food or drink. Even sight of a fluid induces spasm of muscles of the mouth and throat, hence the name hydrophobia (fear of water). Spasms of respiratory muscles produce great difficulty in breathing. There is excessive flow of saliva and the patient tries to spit it out. His throat being dry, he produces a dry, short cough resembling the bark of a dog. Convulsions and attack of maniacal excitement become more frequent. Exhaustion increases till the patient dies four to five days after the onset of the disease.

A simple test to find whether the dog which bit a person was mad or not, is to soak a piece of bread in the blood or fluid flowing from the bite and give it to another dog who is healthy. If the dog refuses to eat it, it indicated that the dog which bit the person was mad.

When it has been ascertained that the dog was mad, the best course is to take the patient to the hospital for anti-rabies serum. If the facilities are not available the wound should be cut open with a clean knife and the blood allowed to flow for some time. Paste made of either onion and salt or vinegar and garlic should be applied to the bite.

Seeds of Satyanasi or Pila Dhatura (Argemone Mexicana) (one tola) should be ground fine in water. The mixture should be strained and given to the patient. He will vomit and may also get diarrhea but the exudation will eliminate the poison from his system.




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