Consistently with our plan, we cannot enter into any disquisition respecting the real or supposed fascinating powers of the reptile race ; we shall therefore state the remedies to be employed, in case a person should be unfortunately stung, or bitten. Such disaster is indicated by acute pain in the wound, accompanied with swelling, which is at first red, though it afterwards assumes a livid hue, and extends to the contiguous parts j by uncommon faintness ; a quick, low, and interrupted pulse ; great nausea, attended with convulsive and bilious vomitings; cold sweats, and sometimes by pains in the region of the navel. A sanious liquor, in most instances, exudes from the spot affected, round which arise small pustules : the patient's skin acquires, in the course of an hour, a yellow colour, resembling that usually observed in the jaundice. - These are the symptoms generally occurring in Europe; but, in hot climates, and if the venomous creature be of a large size, the distressing scene is often closed by death.
Numerous remedies have been recommended for the cure of wounds inflicted by serpents. Dr. Mead advises the poisonous matter to be extracted by means of a cupping-glass, or (which is preferable, if it can be effected) by the mouth ; in which the person sucking the part should hold a little warm olive oil, to prevent the lips and tongue from being inflamed; though he observes, that the suction ought on no account to be deferred for want of oil ; as a delay of a few minutes might be productive of the most fatal consequence. - Where this operation, however, cannot be performed, Dr. M. proposes the application of" a red-hot iron, or of alkaline salts to the wound ; because, if the venomous matter be not absorbed and conveyed into circulation, these cauteries will destroy or change its nature. Lastly, in order to counteract the effects of such portion of the virus as may have been received into the system, he directs an emetic of ipecacuanha immediately to be taken; the operation of which must be assisted by the liberal use of oil and warm water. - The patient should now be placed in a warm bed, and a profuse sweat be promoted by means of cordials, which will carry off the remaining or latent effects of the poison.
The Abbe Fontana proposed a ligature to be expeditiously applied : such bandage, indeed, if properly tied between the wounded part and the heart, will doubtless prevent the poison from operating fatally ; but, as it is calculated to produce gangrene, we conceive excision by the knife is in all respects preferable.
Beside these preventive and curative measures, the use of the volatile ammonia has been attended with uncommon success, both in Europe and India ; though Fontana found it less effectual in his experiments on the poison of the viper. Dr. Wright, therefore, directs 40 drops of the caustic volatile alkali, or of Eau-de-luce, to be taken in any liquid, as soon as possible after the accident; the dose being repeated every five minutes, while the parts are continually washed with the same preparation. Farther, calcined hartshorn, and oil of olives, externally applied, have produced beneficial effects ; as also has a liniment, consisting of vinegar and butter, both when taken by the mouth, and rubbed on the wounded part.