First aid for snake bites

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Snake bites are considered as medical emergencies if the snake is venomous. Always remember that snake bites are deadly if they are not treated right away. Children are at high risk for death or serious complications to snake bites due to their smaller bodies. The administration of the right anti-venom can save a life. This is why it is important to go straight to the emergency room at the nearest hospital. As long as snake bites are properly treated, it will not cause any serious effects.

Causes of snake bites

There are several snakes that can deliver a poisonous bite, it includes the following:

  • Copperhead
  • Cobra
  • Coral snake
  • Rattlesnake
  • Cottonmouth

Take note that all snakes will bite if threatened or surprised, but most will avoid people if possible and will only bite as the last resort. Snakes that are found near or close to water are often mistaken as poisonous but most species are harmless and their bites are not life-threatening, but unless you are certain that you are familiar with a particular species, it should be treated immediately.

Symptoms of snake bites

The symptoms tend to vary depending on the type of snake, but the common symptoms include:

snake bites
The symptoms of a snake bite tends to vary on the snake that delivered the bite.
  • Blurred vision
  • Bleeding from the wound
  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Convulsions
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Increased thirst
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Rapid pulse
  • Numbness
  • Swelling at the site bitten
  • Weakness
  • Severe pain
  • Skin discoloration
  • Tissue death

First aid for snake bites

When delivering first aid for snake bites, you have to keep the individual calm and reassure that the bite can be treated effectively in the emergency room. Try to limit movement as much as possible and keep the affected area below the level of the heart to minimize the venom flow. If a pump suction device is available, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remove any constricting clothing and rings since the affected area can swell. Create a splint that is loose in order to help minimize movement. In case the bite site starts to swell and there is a change in color, the snake is poisonous.

Monitor the vital signs such as the breathing rate, pulse rate, temperature and blood pressure if possible. In case of signs of shock, position the individual flat, elevate the foot and cover with a blanket.

Call or ask someone to get in touch with emergency assistance right away. You should also bring in the snake that caused the bite if possible.

What to avoid during snake bites

  • Avoid applying a tourniquet
  • Do not allow the individual to overexert. If possible, carry the individual.
  • Avoid applying a cold compress to the bite site.
  • Do not cut into the snake bite using a razor or knife.
  • Avoid sucking out the venom by mouth.
  • Do not administer anything by mouth.
  • Avoid raising the affected area above the heart level.
  • Avoid administering pain medications or stimulants unless prescribed by the doctor.

Always remember to call the local emergency number if someone has been bitten by a snake right away. It is also best to go directly to the emergency department of the nearest hospital so that anti-venom can be administered right away.

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