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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-22

Prehospital care in the management of snakebites

Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. John Emmanuel Jesudasan
Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_68_19

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Introduction: Snakebite is a significant public health problem in India. A variety of prehospital practices are commonly followed after a person has been bitten by a snake before he/she reach a health center. Methodology: This was a prospective, descriptive study done in the emergency department which included adult patients above the age of 18 years who presented with a history of either a snakebite or an unknown bite. All other known bites were excluded from the study. The period of the study was between August 2015 and March 31, 2016. Results: The study cohort included 62 patients, with a majority being male (61.3%; 38/62). 32.3% (20/62) of patients were farmers and homemakers constituted 30.6% (19/62). Tying a tourniquet above the bite mark (66.1%; 41/62) was the most common prehospital care administered to the victims. Traditional methods such as performing ritual prayers (1.6%; 1/62), sucking out blood (3.2%; 2/62), or applying traditional medicines (1.6%; 1/62) were the other practices followed before they reached a health center. Conclusion: A significant number of snakebite victims received prehospital care before they reached a health-care facility. Application of tourniquet is the most common prehospital practice followed in the community. However, the other traditional methods are rarely practiced nowadays.

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