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Thread: Adder bite - what to do?

  1. #1
    Master Mossdog's Avatar
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    Adder bite - what to do?

    While running on the fells (North Pennines) behind my home today, I (luckily!) spotted amongst the bracken, an adder, on the sheep trod just ahead of me. It's the first I've seen on the fells in 25 plus years since moving up north, but I used to see quite a few when I lived and played on Dartmoor. Got me thinking....If I hadn't spotted it in time, and had inadvertently stepped on it and got a bite for my clumsiness, what would have been the best course of action?

    Firstly, what to do? Presumably STOP RUNNING, and walk calmly?

    Secondly, where to go? It was about 4 rough direct miles back to my house on foot (over an hour travel time at least), although the nearest road was a single track lane about 2 miles away, but only very lightly used by traffic, so a slim chance of meeting someone who could give me a lift. Rubbish mobile reception in this area too (even if I carried a mobile - which I don't).

    So, the proposed plan would have been a steady walk home and see how I felt when I arrived, and then decide if medical treatment was needed or not.

    When I used to work in northern Namibia, where snakes abound, we were told that if anti-vemon wasn't given in the first 30 minutes or so after a bite (and you had to be sure what sort of snake it was that gave the bite to know what sort of treatment to give), it was a wasted effort to give it later, and the best you could hope for consisted of medical management of the ensuing symptoms.

    Anyone been in this situation for real, or have 'proper' advice? I know people receiving adder bites is incredibly rare, but it would be nice to know before I venture out onto that grassy bank again

    PS I've goggled Adder and Fellrunning and it largely returns references to Walshes - so clearly not a risk anywhere near the 'hypothermia' category!
    Last edited by Mossdog; 08-07-2017 at 04:40 PM.
    “My actions are my only true belongings.”

  2. #2
    Senior Member PeteS's Avatar
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    Not seen any adders when out running for years. Saw one on the cheviots a few years back and the only one recently was on Cannock Chase. First aider wife says remove as much venom as possible by scraping with a credit card and then get to A&E as soon as poss. You should try not to move as that increases the blood flow and therefore venom around the body. Anaphylaxis is possible too. Not much help in your scenario I know but there you have it. So basically don't stand on one! 😀
    Interestingly they are actively looking to encourage snakes and other reptiles back into my local hills so will be interested in further replies.

  3. #3
    Master noel's Avatar
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    Here's an article that sums things up. https://www.researchgate.net/publica...tes_in_Britain

    It seems being (a) a man and (b) foolish is a risk factor for being bitten.
    No longer "resting"

  4. #4
    Master Mossdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel View Post
    Here's an article that sums things up. https://www.researchgate.net/publica...tes_in_Britain

    It seems being (a) a man and (b) foolish is a risk factor for being bitten.
    While I fall foul of both those criteria (as I'm frequently told by my other half!) I can't say I was minded to pick the adder up! This bloke might have been part of the article's stats

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/331194...ids-pushchair/


    It seems, according to the abstract, that bee and wasp stings represent a much greater threat of fatality and they might have added ( no pun intended), that angry cows are also higher up the lists of rural hazards out to get us fell runners.
    “My actions are my only true belongings.”

  5. #5
    Seemed to be pretty sensible advice given on the Lamm this year:
    Adders are quite active at this time of year; however it is extremely unlikely that anyone will be bitten. Should you be unlucky, immediately wash the bite to remove venom on the surface, dispel any notion of continuing competitively and rest with the relevant limb lowered below the heart for about half an hour. Bandage the limb above the bite just tightly enough so that the veins below bulge but pulses can still be felt. "Milking" the bite area to expel blood and plasma could be tried too. If you are not feeling too feverish or nauseous after this rest, proceed gently either to the mid-camp or to a road, whichever is the nearer. Seek medical advice as soon as possible.

    From http://www.lamm.co.uk/2017/event_details.htm

  6. #6
    Master Wheeze's Avatar
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    and be ready to pee like anything....the venom contains an agent that ends up making you pee. Why? Well, in the wild adders feed on small animals by biting them and then following them by their pee scent. Eventually the vole or whatever will keel over and Mr Adder sidles up for his supper. Cunning!

    How do I know this? A colleague has been bitten so gave me first hand knowledge!
    I am Kuno.

  7. #7
    Master Mossdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheeze View Post
    and be ready to pee like anything....the venom contains an agent that ends up making you pee. Why? Well, in the wild adders feed on small animals by biting them and then following them by their pee scent. Eventually the vole or whatever will keel over and Mr Adder sidles up for his supper. Cunning!

    How do I know this? A colleague has been bitten so gave me first hand knowledge!
    So if you get bitten, urine trouble for sure ! (sorry! couldn't resist).
    “My actions are my only true belongings.”

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mossdog View Post
    So if you get bitten, urine trouble for sure ! (sorry! couldn't resist).

    I am glad you didn't!
    "...as dry as the Atacama desert".

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