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About the bites of venomous snakes and spiders

Об укусах ядовитых змей и пауков

Participants of the current events in Donbass began to worry about problems associated with possible bites of poisonous snakes.

Many volunteers are trying to provide defenders of Ukraine with a "panacea" - counter-serum serum; One of the participants is afraid of the fear of snakes to solve their tasks.

Here is given: first, a sufficiently detailed description of dangerous and non-dangerous snakes; Secondly, an explanation of what to do with a snake bite; Thirdly, information about the karakurtas and their bites, and finally, a short extract from the verbose part of the text.

Poisonous and non-venomous snakes

Об укусах ядовитых змей и пауков
Steppe viper on images with varying degrees of detail. It is she who should beware of the ATU participants first of all

Participants of the ATU and those responsible for their health began to worry about the possibility of snake bites. This was to be expected: the year 2014 was "mouse" (with a high number of mouse rodents), and in 2015 the number of vipers increased sharply. It is the vipers that are the only snakes in Ukraine that pose a danger to humans. They inhabit practically the whole territory of the country. Somewhat simplifying, we can say that in the Polesye there lives an ordinary viper (Vipera berus), in the Forest-steppe - the viper of Nikolsky (Vipera nikolskii), and in the Steppe - a steppe viper (Vipera renardi, the older name is Vipera ursinii). All the rest, except for vipers, snakes of Ukraine, are dangerous for humans (at least from the point of view of their virulence). It is important to emphasize that the steppe viper and adder Nikolsky are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine. The use of their habitats by law should be strictly regulated, their destruction is prohibited (and punishable by fines). This is quite natural; For example, a steppe ecosystem is an interconnected whole, and a steppe viper is its important part.

Thus, the only dangerous snake in the steppe areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions is the steppe viper. It is small (the length with a tail does not exceed 65 cm), not a very mobile snake with a very characteristic appearance. On a light background of her body are scattered dark spots, which often form a zigzag pattern. Young vipers feed on insects, then lizards. The main food of adult vipers is the mice-shaped rodents and small birds. If the weather is cool enough, the viper is more likely to meet in well-warmed places; In the heat the vipers endure the peak of their activity for a less hot time. They hunt mainly at night, sitting in an ambush near those places where there are many chances to meet the victim. The Viper bites the mouse, injects poison into it and immediately releases it. The smell of the bitten mouse changes. The Viper will follow the scent trail, find and eat the mouse, which already digests from inside the poison introduced into it at the bite. From what has been said, a recommendation follows, how to reduce the chances of encountering a viper: where there are people, there should be as few mice as possible. To reduce the number of mice, it is necessary to remove the human food and its remnants available to them, and also to clean out the shelters in which mice can hide. By the way, this is very useful from the epidemiological point of view.

On the sections of the forest-steppe along the Seversky Donets one can find another kind of vipers - the viper Nikolsky. It differs from the other two species in coal black color. And in Polissya there lives an ordinary viper with a rather diverse coloring, but an inevitable "vapid" appearance. All our vipers are medium-sized, not very mobile, sufficiently thick snakes. Their heads are widened posteriorly, the posterior half of the head is covered with scales, and not large scutes.

Об укусах ядовитых змей и пауков
Two variants of coloring of an ordinary viper (left and middle) and a viper of Nikolsky (on the right)

The local population of the south of Ukraine is often afraid of the yellow-belly or Caspian stalk (Dolichophys caspius). It is a large and mobile snake, which sometimes reaches 2.5 meters. Its color is monophonic (in young individuals, blurred spots are visible). Zheltobryuhiy poloz - almost the only snake in Ukraine, which can attack a person "on its own initiative"; He bends the spring and makes sharp attacks, sometimes biting his face. Such an attack makes a strong impression on a man, and after a sharp attack, the yellow-bellied slides have time to safely hide. His bite is safe; The minimal skin lesions that are inflicted on his delicate, thin teeth can be neglected. Stories about half-meter-long vipers, "cobra" in the south of Ukraine (which turn out to be Caspian streaks), fears of medics and other harmless snakes are associated simply with illiteracy of people and with the remarkable property of snakes to awaken the imagination game.

Об укусах ядовитых змей и пауков
And this is the only snake in Ukraine, which can attack a person herself, a yellow-bellied skid. In the case of his bite, you do not need to do anything (well, you can disinfect wounds to cleanse your conscience)

Probably the most widespread snake in the south of Ukraine is the water snake (Natrix tessellata). It is a water snake specialized in feeding fish. Its coloration is highly variable. A typical case is darker or light brown or sandy background, staggered darker spots; There are monochromatic and even almost black watery snakes. Stories about snakes that swim in the water (and even more so - eat fish and bring to the shore caught in the water of fish) snakes - these are stories of water horrors. Vipers can swim, but rarely enter the water (especially steppe vipers) and try to get out faster.

Об укусах ядовитых змей и пауков
All this is a water snake. They are completely harmless!

How to avoid a viper bite?

In itself, attacking a human viper will not under any circumstances. Alas, this snake is not very mobile, and it can be in a situation where a person will present a real or apparent threat to it. In this case, she will be protected by a bite. In order not to suffer from the bite of a viper, where snakes can be - do not walk barefoot, look under your feet, do not pick up objects on the ground, in grass, bushes.

High boots, loose clothing from dense fabric, thick leather gloves securely protect against an occasional viper bite (and from many other troubles, like thorns and stinging insects).

If you met a viper, it just needs to be given the opportunity to get out of the house. If the viper lies in your path, you can just stamp your foot on the ground, and she will try to hide herself. In the extreme case, a viper can be picked up with a stick (at least half a meter) and thrown aside.

The action of snake venom and the relief of the bitten

Об укусах ядовитых змей и пауков

The active substances of snake venom are proteins. These are several different toxins, the task of which is to ensure the penetration of the poison into the bloodstream and cause a reaction that is destructive for the victim's organism. A significant part of pathological symptoms associated with a viper bite is associated with the work of its own protective systems of the bitten organism. Without going into details, reactions to a bite can be divided into local and systemic (general). Among the local is the damage and death of tissues at the site of the bite, the development of edema. Plasma of blood leaves the bloodstream, blood coagulates, blood cells can collapse, the probability of blood clots increases dramatically. Regulatory substances are released that promote the development of a protective reaction, of which histamine is the most important. Its sharp release significantly worsens the overall picture. The volume of circulating blood decreases, heart failure develops. It is important to emphasize that if a viper inhabiting Ukraine bites an adult person, a bite was not applied to the head or neck, and there are no aggravating circumstances (like "folk" methods of treatment - moxibustion, cuts, tug-of-war, etc.), a threat to life Bitten is practically absent. However, this is a rather serious disease requiring specific treatment.

If the bite is produced through clothing, you need to release the bite and remove the poison drops that can be on clothing and skin.

Immediately after a bite, it is advisable to begin sucking out poison from the wound left by the snake teeth. It is indicated that a rapid and proper suction can remove 40%, or even more of the dose received. The poison can be sucked with the mouth, often spitting and rinsing the mouth with water; When there are wounds in the mouth, it is not desirable to suck the poison out. There are special devices for sucking poison, but, most likely, they will not be at hand. You can suck the poison with an ordinary plastic syringe, the front part of which is evenly cut off by the knife so that it fits snugly against the skin around the bite site. After the onset of edema or after 5-15 minutes, sucking should be stopped (the poison by this time has spread quite widely). Given the future edema of the ring, watch bracelets, etc. With a bitten limb should be removed. The massage of the bite site and its mobility should be minimized (during the sucking of the poison, you can massage the bitten area towards the wound).

Strongly do not: make incisions at the site of the bite, cauterize it with hot objects, apply cold, apply pressure bandages. All these actions will exacerbate local tissue damage, lead to large areas of tissue death, poisoning the body with breakdown products and other troubles. Harmful is the belief that the clinical picture is facilitated by alcoholic beverages (of course, you can puff up insensibility, but the defeat of the viper poison will only aggravate it). After sucking (or without it), you just have to disinfect the place of bite some of the antiseptics, cover it with a clean cloth and try to keep it calm and cool. You can put a tire on the affected limb to immobilize it and reduce lymphatic drainage (with which the poison spreads throughout the body). It is important to do this so that you do not overtake the swollen limb, which can lead to pain and local lesions. Ultimately, the tissues at the site of the bite will try to bind the snake venom proteins and fight for their survival.

Eugene Komarovsky (on the video, which is lower, after the 12th minute) advises to bandage the bitten limb in order to reduce the outflow of lymph. The bitten limb should be below the level of the head.

It is essential that the panic or simply excited state of a bitten person significantly worsens his condition. The bitten should be explained that there is no threat to his life; Unfortunately, he ran into trouble, and after that his task is to lie relaxed in a cool place, drink more, often urinate, doze more and wait quietly until his body cope with the consequences of a snake venom attack. Unfortunately, the myths about the "terrible power of snake venom" interfere with this. Note that the bite of even the most terrible species of snakes that lived in the USSR or in Afghanistan, such as gyurzy (Macrovipera lebetina), was not a death sentence at all. With a bite of a gurza without any treatment, 85% of the survived survived. Snakes, from which most of the bitten people die, are found only in the tropics of Eurasia and other continents; Snakes, the bite of which would not leave a chance of survival, does not exist. As for vipers in our country, the deaths of adults from their bite (and not from the barbaric methods of "cure") are generally unknown.

An important question is whether to use an antiserum serum? If the bitten gets to the hospital, where it will be possible to introduce it, he will get it almost certainly. The fact is that a typical doctor is afraid of "not having to" and not doing something that he could, in a state where the patient is in danger. If there is a serum, it will be introduced if there are indications for its introduction, and then when there are none (so that the doctor does not have to justify himself later, that he did not do everything he could). Serum is the antibodies (immune proteins) of the horse, which was injected with snake venom. These antibodies recognize specific proteins of the poison and bind to them in complexes, which are then absorbed by protective cells. But, one way or another, the introduction of serum is the introduction of bitten a significant amount of foreign protein. This protein can cause an acute reaction up to anaphylactic shock (a deadly condition that requires resuscitation and difficult treatment). In fact, the serum binds snake venom, but in some respects can trigger similar (and even more acute) reactions of the patient's body. If the bite threatens life, all means, including serum, are good; If there is no threat to life (and even if qualified medical care and prolonged monitoring in the hospital are unlikely or impossible), serum is better to be avoided.

In the above, there is one difficulty. The decision to abandon any therapeutic action can be taken by either a highly qualified doctor or the patient himself. If the opportunity to introduce serum and ensure normal observation in the hospital is, perhaps, should agree with the physician who proposes to do so. However, when the author of these lines in the Donetsk region was bitten by a steppe adder, he at first refused hospitalization and was treated himself, and then, when (at the insistence of the director of the reserve, in which it happened) he still got to the hospital, he withstood the pressure of doctors and gave a subscription , Which voluntarily refuses to administer serum. I did not regret it. In the situation of combat operations or their threat, qualified medical assistance may not be available. In such conditions, if there is no threat to life, the rejection of serum is possible and probably justified.

And how to relieve the bitten state?

To alleviate the condition of the patient, antihistamines are very important. In the case of a viper bite, the maximum single dose allowed for the drug should be taken. Dr. Komarovsky advises loratadine or cetirizine . You can use other drugs. For example, if we are talking about diazoline tablets containing 100 mg of active ingredient, the maximum single dose of this drug is 300 mg, and the maximum daily dose is 600 mg, then immediately after the bite 3 tablets should be taken, and then, after 8, 16 and 24 hours - another tablet.

The introduction of a hormonal anti-inflammatory drug can alleviate the condition. Dr. Komarovsky advises dexamethasone . Finally, after biting it is useful to drink a lot of liquid, preferably so that it sweats (do not drink through force, but the flow of fluid must be sufficient and abundant). A significant intake of water will improve the blood and lead to increased work of the kidneys (and sweat glands) that help self-purification of body fluids. You can drink tea, and you can also use appropriate salt solutions (like a rehydron ).

Previously, a bitten snake patient was recommended to administer intravenous calcium chloride (as a means of increasing the resistance of blood cells) and magnesium (as a remedy for heart failure). Dr. Komarovsky argues that now these measures can be considered irrelevant. All other actions that must be performed with the bitten, are simply symptomatic treatment, which should ease his condition. The use of analgesic tablets (like paracetamol) is undesirable.

Are the measures described here sufficient?

It seems to many volunteers that they will save the life of a fighter if they take out an ampoule of imported antiserum serum. In fact, the method described here is repeatedly tested by professionals who work with snakes (and somewhat modified in accordance with the advice of modern medina urgent conditions). It is quite sufficient for cases of a bite of a healthy male viper in the leg or arm. If the bitten gets to the hospital, he will be treated differently. They will inject serum (at least for the sake of reinsurance), but they will also more professionally monitor the state of the cardiovascular system, carry out symptomatic treatment better. If there is a possibility to lie down in the hospital - you can go for it, if not - it is easier to use the experience of professionals who use the described measures and remain healthy.

Poisonous spiders and their bites

Об укусах ядовитых змей и пауков
Karakurt and its hole

No less important problem than poisonous snakes, for participants ATO can become poisonous spiders, more precisely - one, the most dangerous of their kind. This is karakurt ( Latrodectus tredecimguttatus ). The bite of karakurt is no less dangerous than the viper's bite; All other spiders of Ukraine, if they can bite the skin, is not more dangerous than wasps and bees.

In general, the karakurt looks ominous enough: it is a rounded black spider, on the abdomen of which there may be small red or white marks. The female is larger than the male (1-2 centimeters); Only she is a significant danger. The Karakurt is a sedentary spider. Its web is located in secluded places, in burrows of rodents and soil depressions. In the heat in the middle of summer, spiders can move around, looking for a new place (and simply in search of coolness). In such a situation, they can crawl into the folds of clothes lying on the ground, in tents and in other places where they can contact a person.

How to avoid a bite of karakurt?

Clothes and shoes lying on the ground in the accessibility of spiders should be inspected before putting on; Mosquito tent should be buttoned up. When moving through steppe and desert areas, one should pay attention to small webs in the depressions of the earth and on small slopes. Sitting down and lying down on the ground, follow it as closely as possible. Fingering with unprotected hands in those places where there can be karakurt is very dangerous. Having discovered a spider, do not try to crush it (bite it!); It must be carefully thrown off with a sharp movement. In those situations where the contact of the body with the surface of the soil and thickets of grass is inevitable, it is necessary to protect the skin with dense clothing.

The bite of karakurt

The poison of the Karakurt is neurotoxic; Local phenomena with a bite are weak, but systemic manifestations can be quite serious. The consequences of the bite of this spider are characterized by severe pain, deterioration of well-being, down to loss of consciousness and delirium. General weakness, as a result of the bite, can persist for up to a month (that is, much more than after a viper bite). At a bite of a karakurt poison is entered into a skin on the small depth (up to 0,5 mm). In accordance with this, the following remedy is recommended: within 1-2 minutes to the place of bite, press the head of the match (or three matches), and light them from the burning match, continuing to press them against the skin . Believe me, this means does not require any heroism (the author tried it!). You can also cauterize the bite with a burning cigarette. After 2 minutes, these actions lose their meaning (the poison manages to spread).

Unlike snake bites when you bite a karakurt you can use anesthesia with paracetamol or ibuprofen, you can apply cold. The rest is like a snake bite. Immobilization (can be bandage) of the limb. Abundant drink. Antihistamines ( loratadine or cetirizine ). Hormonal anti-inflammatory drug ( dexamethasone ).

Unfortunately, after the bite of the karakurt (especially if there was no detoxification of the poison by a shallow burn), unfavorable symptoms from the side of the cardiovascular system are possible. The author does not feel entitled to describe those medical actions that should be performed in such a situation. Bitten by caracurts, if he has an unfavorable condition (for example, heart failure), it is advisable to deliver to the doctor who will perform the necessary symptomatic treatment.


If you have to work or fight in the steppes of southern Ukraine, understand how the steppe adder looks: a small clumsy snake with a dark zigzag on a lighter background. In the forest-steppe you can meet the coal black viper Nikolsky. They should not be afraid, but we must protect ourselves from their bites. Protect yourself with dense clothes, shoes, gloves. To reduce the chance of meeting with vipers, do not bring mice to your place of residence.

With the bite of a viper: suck the poison with your mouth (washing your mouth with water and spitting) or with a syringe. To immobilize a limb by removing something that can transmit it; You can gently bandage. Do not cauterize, do not cut, do not consume alcohol and painkillers! Take an antihistamine drug (loratadine, cetirizine, etc.), a hormonal anti-inflammatory drug (dexamethozone). Bitten - lie in peace, do not be afraid of anything, do not move the affected limb, drink abundantly (regidron solution, tea ...). In the future - symptomatic treatment, with serious problems with cardiac activity - contact a doctor.

In the steppe, especially in the heat, be wary of the Karakurts! These are black, with a rounded body spiders, on which there may be white or red marks. Look closely at secluded places, revealing the web; Look at the clothes and shoes that the spider could crawl into; Button the canopy of the tent. Use tight clothing.

At a bite of a karakurt burn a place of a sting not later, than in 2 minutes! Press against the skin 1, 2 or 3 match heads and set them on fire. Take an antihistamine drug (loratadine, cetirizine, etc.), a hormonal anti-inflammatory drug (dexamethozone), you can - anesthetic (paracetamol, ibuprofen). Bitten - lie in peace, do not be afraid of anything, do not move the affected limb, drink abundantly (regidron solution, tea ...). In the future - symptomatic treatment, with serious problems with cardiac activity - contact a doctor.

Have an antihistamine with you (useful in many cases), for example, loratadine or cetirizine, and a hormonal anti-inflammatory drug, for example, dexamethasone, as well as a syringe, matches and salt solution (rehydron). Always carry matches with you!

Good luck and health!