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What May Increase Your Risk for Problems After a Snake or Lizard Bite?

Many conditions, lifestyle choices, medicines, and diseases interfere with your ability to heal or fight infection. You may be at risk for a more serious problem from your symptoms if you have any of the following. Be sure to tell your doctor.


  • Age older than 60
  • Children and small adults
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Previous allergic reaction to snakes or lizards or to antivenom used to treat a prior bite
  • Previous snake or lizard bite that required medical treatment
  • Previous treatment with snake antivenom
  • Previous surgery to injured area
  • Previous surgery to remove the spleen
  • Uncertain tetanus immunization history

Lifestyle choices

  • Alcohol abuse or withdrawal
  • Drug abuse or withdrawal
  • Smoking or other tobacco use



  • Anemia
  • Bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia or von Willebrand's disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • Heart disease
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Neurologic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, or Parkinson's disease
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Sickle cell disease
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Sean P. Bush, MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine, Envenomation Specialist
Last Revised June 18, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 18, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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