snake biteWe have Dr. Ben Abo ( on the show tonight to talk about some common myths about snake bite injuries. Before he comes on, Kyle Nelson (@WxKyleNelson), our resident severe and disaster weather expert, joins us to talk about the upcoming severe weather roundup. Also on the call is Dr. Joe Holley calling in from his home base in Memphis.
First are the old myths about coral snakes in North America. The rhyme about  “Red touch black, safe for Jack. Red touches yellow, kills a fellow” is only true for one variety of coral snake in North America. It’s also a myth that coral snakes have to “latch on” for the venom to transmit. The coral snake venom is a neurotoxin and the effects can be delayed for hours after the bite. The only treatment is the antivenin for that particular bite. There are often permanent effects depending on where the bite is located.

Pit Viper Snake Bite

Aside from the coral snake, most of the venomous snakes in North America are pit vipers (rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasins, etc.) The good news is that most of these use a common synthetic antivenin to treat all of them. The biggest problem is inappropriate field treatments. For pit vipers, which have a cellular toxin, it is NOT recommended to apply a tourniquet of any kind to the area above the wound. Otherwise, the toxin will pool in the area around the wound and cause additional cellular damage.
Other Snake Bite Don’ts:
Don’t chase after the snake.
Don’t try to capture the snake.
Don’t handle a dead snake. Even a dead snake’s fangs can envenom someone.
Make sure you check out part two of this episode next week!

Check out this episode and if you have questions, leave them here or on our new disaster podcast Facebook Group.

Paragon Brings “The Experience”

Paragon Medical Education Group specializes in bringing what they call “The Experience” to jurisdictions around the country. They bring together police, fire, EMS, and hospital teams to train together and learn what to expect from each diverse group in the response team so that each knows what to expect from the other and how to back the other groups up. Visit Paragon’s site at for more information on how this can be brought into your system.

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3 Responses to Snake Bite Myths with Dr. Ben Abo (part 1)

  1. Rodney Ward says:

    Doesthestun gun model of treatment work ?

  2. Kevin Reiter says:

    ANY electrical treatment for ANY envenomation is not only a myth, but should never be attempted.

  3. […] Ben Abo works with Venom One In Miami and has been a guest on the Disaster Podcast going over snake bite myths, and venomous snakes in general. He couldn’t travel to Colorado, but he did make a Skype […]

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