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An adder bite may be life-threatening. Small children, pregnant women, people with chronic diseases and older people are at increased risk of severe poisoning. Some of the bites may be dry bites, which means that the adder does not inject any venom to the site of the bite.

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The bite site is often sore, swollen and blueish black in colour. In addition to local symptoms, the person may feel nauseous, vomit and have disorders of consciousness. An adder’s venom may also cause an allergic reaction, in which case the symptom is a rapidly developing difficulty with breathing.

First aid

Try to keep the bite site as still as possible, for example, with the help of a splint or by carrying the person away from the place where the bite occurred. Moving enables the venom to spread into the circulation faster. The tablets for adder bites are not an essential part of first aid as their effectiveness in the treatment of adder bites has not been proven. Also, do not give any anti-inflammatory medication or paracetamol for pain management.


An adder bite must always be assessed by a physician.

The treatment given in healthcare is symptomatic. Depending on the severity of the poisoning, an antivenom may be used.