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Bites and Stings Snakes, Spiders, and Scorpions in the United States

May 2007

Snakes, spiders, and scorpions are generally feared by the public because of the folklore that surrounds these animals and their potential to cause serious envenomation. These bites are rarely fatal in the United States but significant morbidity may result, especially when inappropriate treatment is administered. The lay public is often only aware of those treatments that they see and read in the media. These techniques may be antiquated and often cause more harm than good.

The unpredictable nature of these envenomations can make assessment and management difficult. The medical literature often consists of case reports and other anecdotal evidence, making evidence- based decisions tricky at best. Fortunately, there are some well-designed animal studies, large case series, and laboratory studies available to guide the clinician.

It is of the utmost importance that emergency physicians are up to date with currently accepted treatment of snake, spider, and scorpion envenomations.
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Last Modified: 06/28/2017
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