We all get bites at some time or other.
Insects bite are probably the commonest and they cause lots of problems. There are thousands around the world who die every year from malaria. The enlarged spleens which they often get make them more prone to getting ruptured spleens from traumatic episodes. There are also other nasty mosquito spread diseases. Ticks also bite and they can cause a variety of diseases. Scorpions – their stings cause severe pain but usually not much else. Young children may get worse reactions as a few varieties are venomous. Injecting directly around the site with morphia gave the quickest and best results. You quickly had very happy customers. The above almost always cause medical diseases although there can be complications requiring surgery, and I’m a surgeon – so I tended to deal with bigger mouths and more traumatic bites.
Snakes – Their bites are not consistent in how they behave; that is they are either venomous or non- venomous, and there are a variety of venoms. The non-venomous just give you a nip without poison – scary but these are really a fairly minor issue. The venomous ones have a variety of ways of causing major problems. Among them are neurological problems, bleeding diatheses, tissue death, allergic reactions, kidney failure. It is nice if you have specific antivenins available depending on the type of snake, but our patients tended to arrive late, and antivenins are much better if given early. The polyvalent antivenoms which we held in stock were not as good at any rate. The major problems we saw were of tissue damage with massive swelling needing splitting of the skin to relieve pressure, and often cutting away the dead tissue. Amputations were occasionally necessary, but more often we could cover the dead areas with skin grafting. Continue reading “Bites 1 – garden and domestic”