Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms coral snakes pit vipers Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care pain control warning signs Prevention Outlook Underlying Cause coral snakes pit vipers

Bitten by a Snake Pit Vipers

Pit vipers include:

  • Copperheads
  • Cottonmouths
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Pygmy rattlers

Identifying characteristics of pit vipers include:
  • An indentation, or pit, halfway between the snake's eyes and nostrils
  • Retractable fangs
  • Vertical pupils
  • Arrowhead shaped head

Pit viper venom injures the tissue near the bite and damages blood vessels, causing:
  • Destruction of red blood cells
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle damage

Last Updated: Jul 31, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bitten by a Snake References
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  2. Dart RC, Seifert SA, Boyer LV, et al. A randomized multicenter trial of crotalinae polyvalent immune Fab (ovine) antivenom for the treatment for crotaline snakebite in the United States. Arch Intern Med. 2001 Sep 10;161(16):2030-6. [11525706]
  3. McKinney PE. Out-of-hospital and interhospital management of crotaline snakebite. Ann Emerg Med. 2001 Feb;37(2):168-74. [11174235]
  4. Morandi N, Williams J. Snakebite injuries: contributing factors and intentionality of exposure. Wilderness Environ Med. 1997 Aug;8(3):152-5. [11990155]
  5. Pantanowitz L, Guidozzi F. Management of snake and spider bite in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 1996 Oct;51(10):615-20. [8888039]
  6. Terry P, Mackway-Jones K. Towards evidence based emergency medicine: best BETs from the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Antibiotics in non-venomous snakebite. Emerg Med J. 2002 Mar;19(2):142. [11904264]
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