First Aid for Snake Bite

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Snake bites are very painful and furthermore if it’s of a poisonous snake (cobra, rattlesnake, cottonmouth, copperhead, etc.), then it can be fatal as well. Children are at a higher risk of death due to snake bites as they have a smaller body size.Snake venom spreads rapidly in the blood and calls for immediate medical help.

The right antivenom injected into the body will help save a life. However, it becomes difficult for a person to cope with the situation while wandering in wilderness or while being in a location that is away from medical facilities. At that moment, one must note down the first aid measures for surviving a venomous snake bite.

First Aid Tips for Snake Bite

1.Do not panic

This is the first measure to prevent the venom from spreading in your body. At any cost do not panic. Try to move away from the snake without getting restless. Panicking increases your heart rate.

2.Lie down on your back

In most cases, snake bite occurs in the leg. Make sure you lie down on your back and do not lift your leg. Let it rest on the floor at the level of your heart. The venom remains still when your body is still and static.

3.Call for help

Call your friends or emergency care immediately to take you to hospital.

4.Remove jewellery

If you are wearing any kind of jewellery in your feet, toes or fingers then remove them to prevent swelling.

5.Clean the Wound

If you have an antiseptic with you, then clean the wound with it. Or else you can clean with the cloth

6.Wrap a cloth on the bite

If you have a bandage with you, then wrap it immediately on the bite, but not too tightly. Or else, tear a portion of your clothing and tie it around the wound. Raise your body gradually without elevating or moving your leg while tying the bandage.

7.Venomous or not

If you see the area of the bite starts swelling or changes color, it means the snake was venomous. Thus, you need to seek medical help as soon as possible.

8.No need to hunt down the snake

Yes, it is very important to identify the snake to inject the correct antivenom. However, do not waste time hunting down the snake or try to kill it. There is no point in risking another bite. Keep in mind, a dead can also bite several hours after it is dead. This is due to a reflex action of the dead snakes body. Now-a-days, all have or carry digital cameras or camera enabled phones. Click pictures of the snake, if possible, and show it to the medical team for identification.

What NOT to-do

  • Do not try to suck out the venom
  • Do not try to chase the snake
  • Do not use a tourniquet or wrap the bandage tightly
  • Do not mess with the wound with knife to take out the venom
  • Do not wash with detergent solution or water
  • Do not use ice compress
  • Do not drink alcohol or fluids
  • Do not exert your body physically

What to do if it’s a non-poisonous snake bite?

Not all snakes are poisonous. You can take the following measures: First stop the bleeding by compressing it with a cloth or cotton. Wash the wound with plain water and apply an anti-septic cream or ointment. Cover the wound.

However, make sure you check with your doctor once.

Note:We advise you to not consider any snake bite as non-poisonous until you are 100% familiar with snake species.

What to expect at medical unit?

Once you have safely reached the medical unit, your doctor will ensure that the venom is eradicated from your body.

The doctor will first inquire about the appearance of the snake. If you remember, then explain him the color, shape and size of the snake.

Intravenous injection of antiveninhelps to survivea venomous snake bite. A tetanus injection may also be administered. The wound is covered with a bandage.

Additionally ECG, blood and urine tests may be suggested to rule out any risks.

Remember the first aid tricks and visit the nearby hospital as soon as possible because the earlier you receive treatment, the more effective it is. Last but not the least, take precaution to avoid snake bites.

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Written by: healthplus24 team
Date last updated: May 02, 2015