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What happens when someone takes an anti-venom for an animal they weren't bit by, either for incorrect identification of the animal they were bit by or if they weren't bit at all?

I am looking for the immune system reaction, and possibly why it reacts as it does.

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@jonsca Why the edit to change antivenom to antivenin? From Wikipedia: "The name "antivenin" comes from the French word venin, meaning venom, which in turn was derived from Latin venenum, meaning poison. Historically, the term antivenin was predominant around the world, its first published use being in 1895.[2] In 1981, the World Health Organization decided that the preferred terminology in the English language would be venom and antivenom rather than venin and antivenin or venen and antivenin." – Alan Boyd Nov 3 '13 at 18:49
@AlanBoyd Feel free to roll back. I was always taught that "antivenom" was incorrect. – jonsca Nov 3 '13 at 18:55
It seems like there's a mixture of both in the literature, and Webster's defines "Antivenom" as "Antivenin". I will leave it be, though. – jonsca Nov 3 '13 at 19:12
@jonsca I searched for both words as title terms at Web of Science: antivenin has total hits 190, 104 (54.7%) since 1981 whereas antivenom has total hits 598, 561 (93.8%) since 1981. It looks like the WHO decision was pretty influential. Incidentally I have no axe to grind on this, I was just curious since I don't recall ever seeing the word antivenin before your edit. – Alan Boyd Nov 3 '13 at 19:35
usually the antivenoms are antibodies raised against these protein based venoms. Serum injections may cause anaphylactic reactions but should otherwise be safe. – WYSIWYG Nov 4 '13 at 4:42

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