Tuesday, May 28, 2024
HomeHealthViper Bites on the Rise in Sweden

Viper Bites on the Rise in Sweden

Viper Bites on the Rise in Sweden

As the summer heat brings out Sweden’s vipers, the Poison Information Center has reported 591 viper bites so far this year. Though the number of calls is roughly in line with other years, 2018 saw a record 1,225 calls for viper bites. Of those who are bitten by vipers, roughly 400 require hospital treatment each year, with 20-30% of them developing moderate to severe symptoms that necessitate an antidote.

What to Do If You’re Bitten by a Viper

If you encounter a viper or fear you may have been bitten, it’s important to stay calm and keep the bitten body part still. Seek medical advice from a doctor or contact the Poison Information Center for advice. It’s also recommended to observe those who have been bitten in hospital. Those who experience general symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain or difficulties breathing should contact 112 for an ambulance.

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How to Protect Yourself from Viper Bites

Viper bites are typically 6-9 millimeters apart and often cause pain and bluish swelling around the bite site. In more severe cases, the swelling can spread to the entire body part or torso and may take several weeks to subside. To protect against viper bites it’s important to wear long trousers and appropriate shoes or boots when in nature. It’s also important to remember never to pick up a snake as they are protected in Sweden.

What to Do If You Find a Viper

Though vipers do not attack and only bite when stepped on almost directly, all other snakes in Sweden — including snakes and hazel snakes — are harmless. For those who find a viper on their property, they can capture and move it with permission. If no other solution is available, they may kill the viper but only with permission from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.


In summary, as temperatures rise and vipers emerge, it’s important to remain vigilant and take extra precautions when outdoors. Wear long trousers and appropriate shoes or boots, avoid picking up snakes and contact a doctor or Poison Information Center if bitten. With this knowledge, expats can enjoy Swedish nature with peace of mind this summer.

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