• Question: If you get bit by a snake eg. cobra if you use the wrong anti venium can it kill you because you are putting in more drugs into your body and they can react against the bite?

    Asked by claremcglone to Amy, Drew, Julia, Kimberley, Sara on 21 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Drew Rae

      Drew Rae answered on 17 Jun 2011:

      Hi clare,
      The biggest danger is that the anti-venom will not be effective. That’s why they say you should try to identify or bring in the snake that bit you. (Sure … after I’ve been bitten by an Inland Taipan I’m really going to wander around trying to catch the thing just to make sure it wasn’t a King Brown).

      I haven’t looked it up, but from memory anti-venom can have side-effects, but none of them are nearly as bad as venom from the deadlier snakes.

    • Photo: Sara Imari Walker

      Sara Imari Walker answered on 18 Jun 2011:

      Hey Clare! I think Drew has got this spot on. The wrong anti-venom won’t kill you but not getting the treatment for the right kind of venom will. Antivenom is made by taking venom from poisonous snakes, diluting it, and injecting it into an animal to produce antibodies (those are little cells trained to fit specific pathogens!). These antibodies are actually what goes into the antivenom to make it effective against a specific kind of venomous snake bite. I’ve never heard of antibodies being poisonous, but they can make you feel sick. Our own body produces antibodies when we get an infection or cold, sometimes it is not the infection that makes us feel sick but the stuff we produce to fight it!

      Let’s just say I hope to never get bit by a poisonous snake!!!

    • Photo: Kimberley Bryon

      Kimberley Bryon answered on 18 Jun 2011:

      I think that Drew and Sara have answered this well. I am hoping to never get bitten by a poisonous snake!

    • Photo: Julia Griffen

      Julia Griffen answered on 19 Jun 2011:

      I have no idea!

    • Photo: Amy MacQueen

      Amy MacQueen answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Hi Clare! Not as far as I am aware….I imagine it might make you feel a little sick but its unlikely to kill you! Some people say that it does but there is no clear evidence for this as far as I am aware. SO its much better to get treated with something that might be right rather than worry you might be getting the wrong antidote!

      I saw a big black and yellow snake last month when I was at a conference…but thankfully he didn’t bite me!! 🙂