Viper, viper bite | Warm May brings more Viper inquiries than usual

Viper, viper bite |  Warm May brings more Viper inquiries than usual

So far in May, there have been 108 calls about snake bites. There are more than usual for the beginning of the year.

Over the past five years, there have been fewer than a hundred inquiries throughout the month of May, an overview shows Health Library. The overview only gives an indication of how many people were actually bitten. Some people don't call about bites or suspected bites, and some incidents may be reported by multiple people.

– When the weather is good, we see an increase in the number of calls we receive about viper bites, says Mari Tosteret, Department Director in Poison Information for the Norwegian Institute of Public Health NTB.

First aid for snake bite

  • Call 113 for symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, fainting, breathing problems or rapidly developing swelling.
  • In other cases, contact a Poison Information Center for advice on further follow-up and treatment, if necessary.
  • Leave the bite alone (do not squeeze, cut or suck the bite)
  • Keep the lower body immobilized and in an elevated position if possible during transport to the emergency room/hospital
  • Be as calm as possible and move children to traffic if possible. If you get bitten when you are far away from civilization (in the mountains, in the woods, on an island or similar), you need to go to more central areas. Move as calmly as possible and ask for help if needed
  • When swelling begins, mark the outer edge of the swelling with a pen and note the time so that it is easy to follow the growth.
  • Tetanus vaccine or a booster dose of it is also suitable for those who can get it at home (talk to doctor/emergency room). Vaccination within 12 hours of the snake bite is an advantage.
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Read more in Poison Information

In Norway, the viper is found in most places in southern and central Norway, from the sea to Snafjellet. If you're someone who likes to run barefoot in the woods, there's reason to look carefully or find boots. Spotting a camouflaged worm is not always easy.

– A good number of callers don't see a viper, but they contact us because they notice typical marks on the legs or other signs that make them suspect a viper bite, says Tosteret.

A viper bite usually consists of two point-shaped stings 3 to 9 millimeters apart. With a so-called dry bite, you usually get a mild reaction around the bite site, and healthy adults can often monitor the condition at home. In case of more serious symptoms, you should call 113 and go to the hospital, the poison information insists.

The most important thing when you bite is to be as still as possible. If you are far away from people, you should quietly move to the nearest road.

(© NTB)

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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