Apr 14, 2010 at 3:51 pm #1257728
I was thinking, are there any adventurers out there that have been known to carry snake anti-venom for the common poisonous snakes in the area in which they hike? I've never heard of anyone doing this and started wondering, why not? I realize avoidance is the best way but sometimes things happen. Does anti-venom go bad if not refrigerated? I presume it would be very expensive to get the anti-venom too.
-SidApr 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm #1598053
@drmguyLocale: Orange County
The biggest problem is it does have to be refrigerated.Apr 14, 2010 at 4:15 pm #1598063
You need to have a specific type for a given species. So it's not practical unless you want to lug a cooler around.Apr 14, 2010 at 5:02 pm #1598079
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
My understanding is that multiple doses may be required. I also believe that there is no longer any anti-venom available in the US for coral snake venom.
Unless you have medical training, and the necessary support equipment, this sounds like a bad idea.
Better to know the most recent first aid techniques for snake bite, better yet, avoid getting bitten…Apr 14, 2010 at 5:30 pm #1598093
I hate it when those Coral snakes jump out of trees!
But yeah seriously. No. Bad idea.Apr 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm #1598108
Well, I knew there had to be good reason nobody carried it. Maybe one day they'll make dehydrated anti-venom that never goes bad.
-SidApr 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm #1598122
Hey John, I dont know anything about anti venom, so when you say "I also believe that there is no longer any anti-venom available in the US for coral snake venom" does that mean its just simply no longer available? like a non renewable resource, or that at the moment there is none available because of demand. How is anti venom made and what is it?Apr 14, 2010 at 6:53 pm #1598143
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
@Konrad — Apparently, Coral Snake antivenin it is no longer being manufactured in the US. Google CroFab, and you'll find out more than you want to know. CroFab is for pit vipers.
It certainly doesn't sound like anything to be used in other than an emergency room (or similar setting) by a physician…Apr 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm #1598146
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Australia has by far the most venomous snakes in the world. We often see them while out walking. However, as far as I know snake anti-venom is just not carried by any Australian walkers. We leave them alone; they leave us alone.
CheersApr 14, 2010 at 7:29 pm #1598159
@worthLocale: Wind River Range
Anaphylaxis is a possibility when infusing anti-venom. Cardiac arrest and death associated with the use of Antivenin Crotalidae) Polyvalent (equine origin) have occurred.Apr 14, 2010 at 8:13 pm #1598179
On a somewhat unrelated note, I watched a show on the discovery channel a while back in which a snake wrangler would inject himself with tiny doses of a certain snake venom every couple of days. After a while of doing this, he becomes immune to that particular venom. By that I mean, he will still get really sick when bitten by that particular snake, but he would eventually come out of it alive without any anti-venom or hospitilization. He did this for a number of snake venoms and was immune to a number of deadly snake bites because of it. I thought this was very interesting. It seems the human body can pretty much develop an immunity to darn near anything.
-SidApr 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm #1598193
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
OBTW, don't get too worked up about coral snakes, anyway. Granted, the venom is extremely bad (neurotoxin) and it can kill you pretty quickly. However, coral snakes do not have front fangs like a rattlesnake. Coral snakes have to bite you with their whole mouth since the venom comes from the back teeth. Due to the difficulty of "biting" a person that way, they almost have to find some delicate flap of skin and chew for a minute. For that reason, an alert adult would almost never be killed by a coral snake. A defenseless baby might be a different story, or maybe a drunk laying on the ground. Now, rattlesnakes are a completely different story altogether. Still, it is best to just give them a wide berth.
I was in military training in Louisiana, and we used to pick up coral snakes and pygmy rattlers and drop them into an empty canteen, and then leave that sitting around.
–B.G.–Apr 16, 2010 at 9:22 am #1598636
"How is anti venom made and what is it?"
I don't remember the whole process, but it begins with a sample of the original venom. You inject it into a critter, let it develop an immunity, and then extract antibodies. Basically it's taking advantage of the fact that mammals can develop immunities to this sort of thing, so you could in theory extract antibodies from that guy that made himself immune to a variety of snakes and use them to make anti-venom.
That's why they're pretty species-specific, and also why don't keep very well. And why they're not so common, since you have to use the actual snake you want the anti-venom for in order to make it, plus you need to have it administered properly, and you have to be monitored for anaphylactic shock, and if the snake that bites you has a strong neurotoxin your cardiovascular system will probably be shutting down before you get your box of anti-venoms open anyway.Apr 16, 2010 at 9:41 am #1598642
At least when you get it at the hospital it is. My mother's best friend's daughter was bitten and my cousin was bitten 3 times about 5 years ago. Both treatments were very expensive.
Average number of vials per rattlesnake bite = 20. It costs somewhere around $3000 per bottle.Apr 16, 2010 at 11:19 am #1598673
Ouch! That's even more expensive than I'd realized — though I also had no idea as to how much of the stuff you'd end up getting in one treatment. D'oh!Apr 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm #1598723
"It costs somewhere around $3000 per bottle." -Michael Lang
Hmm… Maybe I should start farming venomous snakes for a living. Seems like harvesting their poison would easily earn me a 3 figure income.
-SidApr 16, 2010 at 1:44 pm #1598734
>Seems like harvesting their poison would easily earn me a 3 figure income.
Um, do you mean 3 figures every several hours? :)
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