Spring in Israel Brings Threat of Snake Bites

Tuesday, Mar 10 2020

A 15-year-old boy was bitten on his leg by a Eurasian viper in the Beit Shemesh area, making him the first snake casualty of the season. He’s made a good recovery since his admission to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem on March 4, according to Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Director Dr. Saar Hashavia.

After a cold and rainy winter, the weather turned unusually hot in Israel, meaning snakes and other venomous creatures begin to appear.

“Spring is upon us and while we’re all enjoying the blossoms, there is also a danger out there,” says Emergency Medicine Director Dr. Jacob (Kobi) Assaf, an expert on animal and insect bites, who is often consulted to diagnose mysterious tooth marks. 

“I must emphasize, if someone is bitten by a snake, don’t suck out the poison,” says Dr. Assaf. “The key is to get the victim to the hospital as quickly as possible.”

To avoid snake bites, Dr. Assaf counsels, “Don’t put your hands in places where there’s potential risk, such as bushes or holes in fences. Wear long pants and closed shoes, not shorts and sandals. For those who enjoy camping under the stars, shake out sleeping bags and tents and check shoes, too.”

Learn more about the Hadassah Medical Organization.

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