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Published on July 30th, 2013 | by Tom


How to Treat a Snake Bite, Treatment & First Aid

Usually, snake bite is not life-threatening. However, snake bite might be fatal if not treated quickly and properly. Then, what should be done or not when get a snake bite? Here are some instructions.

Assess the bite to see whether it’s venomous or not. Usually, bites from following snakes are poisonous: copperhead, cobra, coral snake, cottonmouth, rattlesnake, various snakes found at zoos. If you know the types and can make sure the make is venomous, call emergency immediately. Or you can also according to symptoms to judge whether is venomous or not. If the snake bite is venomous, the victim may show the following symptoms:

  • Rapid pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hard to swallow
  • Double vision
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Excessive sweating
  • Convulsions

Before the emergency medical assistance arrive, what you should do:

  • Calm down and try to remember the snake’s features, shape, size, color, and tell the information to emergency staff, which is important and helpful for their treatment.
  • Move the victim away from the snake. Remove the clothing or constricting items by some tools like scissors. Never attempt to remove the clothing forcefully. Any jewelry or watches should be removed from the bitten limb.
  • Keep the victim lie down with the bite below the heart

If the snake is not venomous:

  • Stay calm and get away from the snake as soon as possible.
  • Clean the wound carefully with clean water. An alcohol-soaked pad may be more effective if it’s available.
  • Apply the wound with an antibiotic ointment
  • Bandage the wound to discourage infection.
  • If the condition is not changing in a few days or show some worse signs, seek medical care immediately

What you should not do: (no matter the snake is venomous or not)

  • Don’t try to catch or kill the snake
  • Never cut or suck the venom out of the bite
  • Avoid higher levels of activity.
  • Don’t give the victim alcohol or caffeinated drinks.
  • Don’t apply a tourniquet, which will stop the swelling and resulting in the loss of the limb
  • Prevention: in addition to treatment, the prevention is very important.

Cover yourself with long pants and boots if you have to go to the place that has a high risk of getting snake bite.

  • Make noise and vibration while walking
  • Avoid going to place full of tall brush and deep, dark crevices, especially when you are alone
  • Never try to approach the snake for fun (tell your children it’s very dangerous)
  • Be caution all the time when walking in the area that may have snakes.

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