What to do if you get a snake bite —The do’s & don’t’s
Have you ever seen a scenet in a movie where someone gets bitten by a snake and one of their buddies decides to try to be the hero and suck the venom out of the snake bit? Well that is a big no no! Don’t worry this is why I am writing this article. To let people know what to do if you get a snake bite. This article will be about the do’s and don’t’s when it comes to snake bite.
An estimate of about five million people worldwide are bitten by snakes every year, and as many as 125,000 bites are fatal. However, in the United States, only 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes each year, and only five to six of those bites are fatal. Throughout the world, most bites are associated with farming and food production. Not surprisingly, most bites in the United States are the result of intentional contact with a snake, whether captive ie: pet snakes or in the wild.
There are many doctors that are becoming more familiar with how to treat snakebite emergencies, it’s also a good idea for all of us to have a working knowledge of which snakes are poisonous, what happens in the body when one is bitten, and what kinds of treatment options, including antivenoms, that are available these days. Always treat a snake bite as a venomous snake bite.
Most snakes in the U.S. are not venomous, several types are venomous. In the U.S., all of the venomous snakes, are pit vipers except the coral snake species. Pit vipers are distinguished by a noticeable depression between the eye and nostril. This pit is the heat-sensing area for the snake. While all pit vipers have a triangular head, not all snakes with a triangular head are venomous.
To identify a snake bite, you will want to keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- 2 small puncture wounds
- Difficulty breating
- Vomiting or nausea
- Swelling and pain at the spot of the bite
- Numbness in your limbs and face
- Blurred vision
- Salivating and sweatin
This is why snake venom is dangerous
Snake venoms are made up of various types of proteins that work in different ways throughout the body. The North American pit vipers’ venom damages the lining of blood vessels and lymphatic system which would include the lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow. Venom varies a lot among species, even within a species, venom can be very different depending on where the snake is geographically, how old the snake is, what season of the year it is, and other factors like genes.
Almost every type of organ in the snake bite victim is affected by some component of the venom. Some venoms can be categorized as mainly effecting the heart, nervous system, muscle, etc., it’s not terribly accurate to say that a particular venom falls into just one of these categories because there is so much overlap.
What happens right after the bite
Just in case you were wondering, yes, there is a certain amount of pain involved in a venomous snake bite. Pain from the bite of a pit viper is almost immediate and is often described as an intense stinging sensation or a blow from a hammer. Up to a quarter of pit viper bites are dry, no amount of venom is injected into the victim. The effects of venom vary depending on the situation, and can range from minimal to severe. The effects can remain local, spread throughout the body and/or present themselves as problems with the way the blood clots. The chart below
First Aid Do’s
If you ever get bitten by a snake, it’s very important that you get emergency treatment as quickly as possible. However, there are some tips that you should also keep in mind:
- Call 911 or your local emergency service immediately.
- Remember the time of the bite.
- Keep calm and try to stay still cause movement can cause the venom to travel more quickly through the body.
- Remove any tight clothing or jewelry because the area surrounding the bite will swell.
- Do not let the victim walk. Carry or transport them by vehicle.
- Do not kill or try to handle the snake. Take a picture if you can but don’t waste time trying to find it.
First Aid Dont’s
There are several outdated first aid techniques that are not believed to be helpful or may even be harmful:
- Do not do a tourniquet.
- Do not try to cut into the snake bite.
- Do not use a cold compress on the bite.
- Do not let the person take any medications unless directed by a doctor.
- Do not elevate the area of the bite above the victim’s heart.
- Do not try to suck the venom out by mouth.
- Do not use a pump suction device. They were formerly recommended for pumping out snake venom, but it’s now believed that they are likely to do harm rather than good.
Snake Bite Treatment
The most important thing to do for a snake bite is to get emergency help as soon as possible. A doctor will evaluate the victim to decide on a specific course of treatment. In some cases, a bite from a venomous snake is not life-threatening. The severity depends on the location of the bite and the age and health of the victim. If the bite is not serious, the doctor may simply clean the wound and give the victim a tetanus shot.
If the situation is life threatening, the doctor may give the victim an antivenom. This is a substance created with snake venom to counter the snake bite symptoms. It’s injected into the victim. The sooner the antivenom is used, the more likely it will help the victim.
Snake Bite Prevention
Snake bites can be prevented in many cases. It’s best to not to approach or handle snakes in the wild. Avoid typical places where snakes like to hide, like patches of tall grass and piled leaves, and rock and woodpiles. If you encounter a snake, give it space to retreat and let it take cover. It’s in the snake’s nature to avoid interaction. When working outside where snakes may be in the area, wear tall boots, long pants, and leather gloves. Avoid working outside during the night and in warmer weather, which is when snakes are most active, cause they like to hunt at night and bask in the sun when it’s warm out.
To sum it all up DO NOT mess with snakes, because if you decide you want to play around with a snake you could end up going to the ER. In some cases it could be fatal. If you have any comments, questions or opinions please feel free to fill out the comment section out below