Live In A Snake-Prone Environment? Here Is How To Avoid Snakebites
In what has been described as an embarrasment,the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that there are 174 snakebites per 100,000 population every year in Nigeria.
For those living in rural areas, this is particularly worse.
Here are a few tips to avoid being bitten:
– Do not provoke –
Snakes usually will not attack unless they feel threatened. In the bush, wear sturdy leather shoes and stomp heavily when walking, striking with a stick on the ground in front of you to warn any reptiles you are coming — they will most likely just slither away.
Most strikes occur when snakes feel cornered or under threat, or when people accidentally step on them.
– Be alert and prepared –
Outside, have a good look around you for snakes that may hang from tree branches or swim in water, and be careful when turning over rocks or other objects. And remember: snakes are evolved to be well-camouflaged in their environment, whether it be the desert, forest or bush.
Thick, protective gloves are recommended for gardening and farming.
Carry a lamp at night.
Birds can help too: Many species possess an alarm cry to alert others of hidden danger.
Inside, check your bed and dark corners — snakes can enter homes in pursuit of prey, heat or water.
The neater your home, the more likely you will spot an out-of-place snake. A mosquito net around your bed can be an effective snake repellent.
– Once bitten –
If you or someone else is bitten, try and remember the colour and shape of the snake, and seek immediately medical care at a clinic or hospital.
Remove any bracelets, rings or watches that may hamper blood flow in case of swelling.
Do NOT try and catch the snake, apply a tourniquet, cut the wound, suck out the venom, or drink alcohol or coffee.
Also do not seek to inject your own antivenom, which can induce a violent allergic reaction and needs to be administered in a professional environment with adrenaline and oxygen on hand.
Sources: Doctors Without Borders, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Action International, Bio-Ken research centres.