A professor and public health expert, Tanimola Akande, said identifying the type or species of snake that bit a person will help decide on a specific type of treatment on Monday.
Akande explained that providing such information will help determine which anti-snake venom to use, especially if the bite was from a poisonous snake.
Speaking in an interview with media men, Akande, who is a former national president of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, said that after a snake bite, a victim should wash the area with soap and water and keep the area still and lower than the heart.
Recall that VON reported that snakebite victims were flooding treatment centers across the country as scorching heat forced the reptiles out of their holes in bushes, farms, roads and homes in search of ‘fresh air.
According to reports affected are; Gombe, Plateau, Borno, Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa and Bauchi State, while herders, farmers and rural dwellers have been most affected.
In 2021, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said 12 states had the highest number of snakebites in the country with an average of 15,000 to 20,000 cases reported each year.
Mamora said snakebites in the country occurred at 479 cases per 100,000 people.
“Nigeria records an average of 15,000 to 20,000 snakebite cases every year, with around 2,000 people killed and between 1,700 and 2,000 people having their legs or arms amputated to save their lives after a snakebite. .
“The states with the most snakebite cases in the country are Gombe, Plateau, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Nasarawa, Enugu, Kogi, Kebbi, Oyo, Benue and Taraba,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 5.4 million snakebites occur each year, resulting in 1.8 to 2.7 million cases of envenomations (snakebite poisoning).
The WHO has pointed out that between 81,410 and 137,880 deaths and about three times as many amputations and other permanent disabilities take place each year.
“Bites of venomous snakes can cause acute medical emergencies involving severe paralysis that can prevent breathing, cause bleeding disorders that can lead to fatal hemorrhage, cause irreversible kidney failure and severe local tissue destruction that can lead to permanent disability. and limb amputation. Children may suffer more severe effects and may feel the effects more quickly than adults due to their smaller body mass,” he said.
Meanwhile, Professor Akande said it was essential to get emergency treatment as soon as possible in the event of a snakebite.
Regarding the type of first aid to be given, he said: “The bite area can be covered with a clean, cool compress or a damp dressing, to reduce swelling.”
“It is advisable to remove tight things like rings, wristwatches in case of swelling. Victims should be taken to hospital as soon as possible.
“It is good to be able to describe the type of snake responsible for the bite to the doctor if it has been seen. This is useful in determining what anti-snake venom to use if the bite is from a poisonous snake. snakes are not poisonous.
He explained that the snakes are found almost everywhere in Nigeria, but particularly in scrubby environments, areas near waterways and farmlands.
On how to keep snakes away, he said the environment should be cleared of bushes and places where snakes are likely to hide or pass should be blocked off.
“In heavily infested areas, anti-snake sprays or powders can also be used. They are at
be used with the utmost caution. It is also important to be vigilant and to light the environment well so that the snakes can be easily seen.
“Care should be taken when opening areas where snakes are likely to hide, including toilets.”
Snakebite victims should identify species before treatment – Physician