Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

continued...

Nor does Kitchens feel that people hiking or camping in the wilderness need worry about snakebites. He's often asked to provide snakebite kits for people planning to walk the Appalachian Trail.

"I tell them you don't need a snakebite kit," he says. "Just don't mess with snakes."

But if a snake does bite you, Kitchens recommends forgoing field remedies like ice, tourniquets, or the cut-and-suck method made famous in movies. It's not that they don't work. It's just that if not done properly, he says, they can cause more harm than good. Instead, head for the nearest hospital.

"Antivenom works pretty damn good," Kitchens says. "Usually you walk away with [no injury] at all. Most people bitten repair pretty well."

Antivenom ideally should be administered within six hours after a bite, and no more than 12 hours. But most snakebite victims don't receive antivenom, Kitchen says. In fact, only 40% of those bitten by venomous snakes are given the serum. That's because most snake venom isn't that toxic.

For instance, Kitchens says, pygmy rattlesnake or copperhead bites aren't usually treated.

But antivenom is a lifesaver for the 10-15% of the people bitten by the highly toxic Eastern or Western diamondbacks. Still, the traditional horse-blood antivenom serum has its drawbacks.

"You can have an allergic reaction to the horse blood" used to make the antivenom, Kitchens says. "With horse-blood antivenom, 10% of the people will have an allergic reaction with hives, swelling, or shortness of breath."

The FDA recently approved a new sheep-blood-based antivenom, which Kitchens says he believes will be easier to use and significantly safer.

Bob Calandra is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in several magazines, including People and Life. He lives in Glenside, Penn.

WebMD Feature

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...

-
Beats
PER
Seconds

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...

-
Beats
PER
Seconds