Q:

5/29/2014
Snake bites in East Africa are very common especially during the rainy season; however patients are some times managed poorly due to ill equip facilities. Since snake bites cause systemic effects such as the anaphylactic symptoms, I am inquiring for the dose of epinephrine to be administered and the frequency of administration.

A:

Thank you for your inquiry.

The dose of epinephrine is the same regardless of the cause of an anaphylactic event. For first-aid treatment of an anaphylactic event in the field, such as one occurring due to a snakebite, the adult dose would be 0.3 to 0.5 mg. In a child, the suggested dose is 0.01 mg per kg. The patient should of course also seek emergency medical treatment for further therapy. The dose can repeated, if needed, every 5 to 15 minutes up to a maximum of three doses. The shot should be administered by deep intramuscular injection into the lateral aspect of the thigh. Preferably automatic epinephrine injectors should be used. Most available automatic epinephrine injectors are available in 0.3 and 0.15 mg doses; the former for adults, and the latter for children.

Thank you again for your inquiry and we hope this response is helpful to you.

Sincerely,
Phil Lieberman, M.D.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology