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European viper bites

Ihopringlad huggorm.

© Matton Collection/Johnér

The only indigenous venomous snake in Sweden is the European common adder, Vipera berus. Approximately 400 patients are annually treated at Swedish hospitals after adder bites. Moderate or severe symptoms occur in 20-30% of these patients. Sometimes the snake may not inject any venom, in which case no symptoms will arise.

Adder bites often result in severe local pain, progressive swelling and a bluish discoloration. In severe cases early symptoms might also include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, breathing difficulties, hypotension, cardiac disturbances and reduced level of consciousness.

In case of adder bite

  • Keep the person calm and at rest with the bitten body part still.
  • Call the Poison Centre or a physician for advice.
  • Everyone with an adder bite should obtain medical attention at an emergency room.
  • Anyone who becomes lethargic, has vomited or has trouble breathing should seek medical attention immediately. Dial 112 for an ambulance.