Buying Snake Anti-Venom in Bangkok - Adventure!

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2016

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cambodia PRIDE’s director, Elaine N, is always looking to replenish the supplies of the life-saving snake bite anti-venom for the snake bite treatment clinic that she and Cambodia PRIDE maintain in Roveing, Cambodia. You can find all of the details on that program in my earlier blog entry here:

Elaine asked me to try and get some more anti-venom from the Thai Red Cross Snake Farm in Bangkok.  I spent Wednesday on an adventure facing my genuine fear of snakes, (thank you Jeffrey G for that:)) and buying anti-venom in Bangkok.

The Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute and Snake Farm of the Thai Red Cross Society is the source of anti-venom apparently for all of SE Asia. If you are looking for some, the location is on Rama IV in Bangkok and you can Google the Thai Red Cross Snake Farm and find the information.

That’s what I did, and check out the photos. If you are interested in learning about snakes, the farms open to tourists and school groups and demonstrates the venom extraction and snake handling, and has a terrific exhibit also. Check out tmy photos below.

There were several steps required to buy the anti-venom. I even had to see the doctor at the travel clinic and explain why I needed it, and then obtain a prescription from the doctor.:) For more information, just leave a comment and I’ll reply.

While there, I met a lovely Veterinarian, Ms. Wai Wai from Kuala Lumpur who was also buying anti-venom for her clinic. We had a discussion about the polyvalent (which covers a broader range of bites for cases when the exact snake variety cannot be identified.) We both wanted that but the Snake farm has been out of stock on both the polyvalent haemo and neuro since this summer.

So we both took some Malaysian Pit Viper and King Cobra doses. These are the most common and most dangerous. Afterwards I went to the exhibit and snake house.I met a visitor from Italy who was very knowledgeable about snakes. We were looking at a King Cobra and he explained that while the King Cobra venom is not as toxic as that of the  pit vipers, the King Cobra is a large snake. It injects a huge amount of venom and it is the amount of venom that makes this bite so deadly.

Then we saw the feared Malaysian Pit Viper. This snake is a big problem in the villages where Elaine works. My new acquaintance explained that this smaller snake stays put, it does not move away when threatened and it will bite every time! It is really deadly and it is hard to see and avoid, as maybe you can tell from my photo.

First Aid For Snake Bites copied from the brochure at the Farm:
1. If possible clean the wound with water & mild soap.

2. Immediately apply pressure immobilization bandage to the limb with the same pressure you would apply to a sprained ankle or knee. Elastic bandages work well."This slows the lymphatic spread of the venom."

3. Try and maintain the patient as still as possible and bring transport to seek medical help as soon as possible. If the snake is viable, bring it with you to the clinic or hospital.

4. Anti-venom should not be given on suspicion of envenoming but only after symptoms appear. It must be given intraveneously and in a controlled hospital or clinic environment.

5. If the patient develops respiratory distress during transport apply "Ambu-bag" respiratory assistance until the medical personnel take over.

6. Do not use a tourniquet or ice. Do not cut or suck the wound. Do not give alcohol, food or aspirin to the patient. Paracetamol (Tylenol) is safe if needed for pain. Electroshock is ineffective and dangerous. Do not use herbal or natural remedies.

I hate snakes & I am really scared of them. So please tell me again why do I want to go to Cambodia next week? Because I can bring some anti-venom with me on my trip to teach XO laptop repairs, and surely, this effort will save some lives!
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