Elapids (cobras, coral, mamba) toxicity

Head | Emergency Medicine | Elapids (cobras, coral, mamba) toxicity (Disease)


Elapids are snakes including cobras, kraits, mambas, coral, tiger, and Australian snakes. Elapids have neurotoxic venom (nerve poison), which acts mainly on the central nervous system. The venom affects heart function and breathing but causes little or no damage at the bite site.

Sea snakes, Kraits and cobras are from the Elapid group of snakes. The toxicity of the venom varies depending on the species. The venom is usually toxic to the nerves or heart.

Early symptoms such as drowsiness can occur within 30 minutes with more severe symptoms developing over the next few hours. Severe envenomation can result in death within hours.

Symptoms include soft tissue swelling (usually very mild), double vision, difficulty swallowing, respiratory collapse, breathing problems, hyper salivation, jaw clenching, confusion, drooping eyelids, weakness, muscle twhiching, cardiovascular collapse, low blood pressure, fast heart rate.

Causes and Risk factors

A snake bite is an injury that results from the action of snakes fangs, that injects venom into the wound by piercing the skin.

Diagnosis and Treatment

However, any bite by a poisonous snake should be treated as a medical emergency. First-aid procedures in the field can involve the use of a constriction band to slow the absorption of the venom into the general circulation, and perhaps the use of incision and suction to remove some of the poison.

Antivenins are also available for the venoms of many species of poisonous snakes. Antivenins are commercially prepared serums that serve as antidotes to snake venoms if they are administered in time. ...