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October 22, 1910


JAMA. 1910;55(17):1463. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.04330170043015

In response to the suggestion of Dr. Prentiss Willson,1 that physicians should report cases of poisoning by copperhead snakes, I will report three cases. The mountains of West Virginia are full of copperhead snakes, and bites by them are frequent, many of which are treated by domestic remedies without calling a physician. The fact that patients generally recover indicates that the wounds are not serious.

To be efficacious, the prophylactic treatment of a snake bite must be immediate. The first thing to do is to grasp the limb on the proximal side, close to the wound and substitute constriction by a handkerchief or cord for the pressure of the fingers as soon as possible. Rapid and shallow stabs with a sharp-pointed penknife should then be made in and about the wound and strong suction applied by the mouth. This method involves the risk of sepsis, not only from the

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