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Snake Bite First Aid

The knowledge of snake bite first aid can be the difference between death and survival for a person that has been bitten.If bitten by a snake, it’s essential to get emergency treatment as quickly as possible.

However, there are some tips that you should also keep in mind:

What TO DO

If You or Someone Else is Bitten by a Snake

Note the Snake’s Appearance

Identification of the snake helps emergency health care professionals to both anticipate the potential symptoms, and it allows for more rapid and appropriate treatment of the venomous snake bite.

A detailed description and a picture of the snake will help identify the type of snake and the type of toxin.

However, do not waste time in transporting the patient to an appropriate medical facility and do not put others in jeopardy of getting bitten.

Note the time of the bite.

So that it can be reported to an emergency room healthcare provider if needed.

Protect the Person

  • Keep the bitten person still and calm. Moving around will make venom spread faster through the body if the snake is venomous.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Call local Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
  • Don’t allow the victim to walk. Carry or transport them by vehicle.
  • Apply first aid if you cannot get the person to the hospital right away.
  • Lay or sit the person down with the bite below the level of the heart.
  • Remove tight clothing or jewelry/watches because the area around the bite is likely to swell
  • Tell him/her to stay calm and still.
  • Wash the wound with warm soapy water immediately.
  • Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.

What NOT TO DO

  • Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it
    This may put you or someone else at risk for a bite.
  • Do not wait for symptoms to appear if bitten
    Rather seek immediate medical attention.
  • Do not apply a tourniquets or constriction bands
    These have not been proven effective, may cause increased tissue damage, and could cost the victim a limb.
  • Do not slash the wound with a knife
    Cutting into the bite site can damage underlying organs, increase the risk of infection
  • Do not suck out the venom
    Sucking on the bite site does not result in venom removal.
  • Do not wait for symptoms to appear if bitten
    Rather seek immediate medical attention.
  • Do not apply ice or immerse the wound in water
    Ice does not deactivate the venom and can cause frostbite
  • Do not drink alcohol
    Alcohol may deaden the pain, but it also makes the local blood vessels bigger, which can increase venom absorption.
  • Do not drink caffeinated beverages
  • Do not give a person medication
    Unless a healthcare professional gives this instruction

 

 

 

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References:

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/snakebite.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/snake-bites#first-aid

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/snakebite/article_em.htm#first_aid_for_a_snakebite

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