Adder advice: What to do if you’re bitten

Joseph Bulmer

Anti-venom is available at North Devon District Hospital

A North Devon District Hospital spokesman said the hospital does keep anti-venom, to be given to patients as necessary, on the basis of clinical need.

He advised that, if bitten, the victim should remain still, immobilise the affected part of the body and get someone to call the emergency services to take them to accident and emergency as soon as possible. Walking and moving around could increase the spread around the system.

“It is rare to see an adder, let alone be bitten by one. Adder bites are very rare and in the vast majority of cases, once treated, there are no lasting ill effects to patients.” he said.

Tom Hines of the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Biosphere Service, which has Braunton Burrows at its heart, said that while he was not aware of signs actually saying ‘beware adders,’ pictures of the snakes were included on interpretation boards which had been sited at the Saunton Sands, Sandy Lane and Broadsands car park areas.

Adders were an important species in the nature reserve. They were on the decline and should be looked after, he said. To hear of a person being bitten by an adder was very unusual.