Snake bites inhibit the blood’s ability to clot thereby causing excessive internal bleeding. The danger lies in blood entering the brain, tissues and intestines. It is estimated that 5.4 million people are bitten yearly and that about 138,000 die as a result. This is due to the time lapse between getting bitten and getting a person to a facility to treat the bite.
Dr. Vance G. Nielsen of the University of Arizona’s Department of Anesthesiology has published results of what may be the answer to treating snake bites immediately after a person is bitten. This is a carbon monoxide-iron-based therapy that can be delivered in the form of an epi-pen. So far, the therapy has inhibited the effects of a snake bite for up to one hour in animals. It has also shown to be effective in three different species of snakes since every snake bite delivers its own special venom. At present hospitals must stock various antivenoms and the patient must know which species he or she was bitten by. Ambulances and first aid kits, carried by hikers and campers, could be stocked with these Epi-Pens. The success of this epi-pen could also lead to others such as one for scorpion bites in the future.