How dangerous is the Asian cobra?

The Asian cobra or naja naja is considered one of the types of cobras that thrive in Africa and India. The serpent is responsible for several fatal bites in various countries such as Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Based on statistics, the number of individuals killed yearly by this snake is unreliable due to poor monitoring and incorrect identification of the snake bite in these countries.

Occupational hazard

Herders, farmers and plantation workers are at risk for snake bites while on the job in the field. It is important to note that Asian cobras are quite common in the rice fields and cultivated lands. The cases of snakebites increases during the monsoon weather, floods and when the agricultural activities increase.

How an Asian cobra bites

The Asian cobra does not want to bite humans, but if the snake is cornered, it will surely bite. In some cases, the snake can bite again and even hold onto the individual and chew. This multiple biting method employed by the snake is extremely dangerous since a single bite can inject a large quantity of venom into the individual. With multiple bites, it can inject a substantial amount of venom that is lethal.

Effects of the venom

Asian cobra bite

The moment paralysis moves on to the muscles that are responsible for breathing control, the individual will die due to respiratory collapse if advanced medical care is not provided.

The bite of an Asian cobra can lead to necrosis or tissue damage on the area surrounding the bite. Of course, the neurotoxins present in the venom are dangerous since it causes descending paralysis. The first indicative sign are drooping eyelids. After some time, the individual could no longer move his/her tongue and will have trouble talking. The moment paralysis moves on to the muscles that are responsible for breathing control, the individual will die due to respiratory collapse if advanced medical care is not provided.

Issues with the treatment for an Asian cobra bite

Once an individual is bit by a snake, he/she must be taken to a clinic or healthcare facility so that first aid care and treatment can be provided. In most cases, the healthcare facilities are located far away and there is not enough transportation available. The affected limb must be immobilized since walking will only spread the venom all over the body. Oftentimes, the individual might even consult a folk healer in which the treatment involves chanting, cutting of incisions or applying herbs. Take note that all of these treatments are contraindicated. Even if the individual managed to reach the hospital, the medical staff might not be properly trained to handle snakes bites. It is sad but this is true especially in developing countries.

Anti-venom for the Asian cobra

The only effective way to cure a bite from an Asian cobra is the administration of anti-venom. Using the correct anti-venom depends on the accurate identification of the snake. Many individuals have suffered from adverse reactions to certain types of anti-venom. Take note that there might be regional differences in the venom, thus anti-venom from cobras in one part of India might not work on bites of cobras in a different area.

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