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First Aid for Snakebites

First Aid for Snakebites

Snakebites can be serious and deadly. You need to be very quick and provide the first aid treatment to the victim. Here are some tips about first aid for snakebites.
Mamta Mule
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Jungles, beaches and forts are the all-time favorite destinations for enjoying holidays. It could be an adventure trek or just a relaxing trip. And you hardly think and expect any untoward incident happening to you or your companions during the trip. But, what if you are bitten by a snake? The very thought of a snakebite might frighten you. Scared! Yes, it is indeed very daunting and highly risky for your life. Immediate care followed by visiting a doctor is very critical at this time. First aid plays an important role. No matter whether the snake is poisonous or non-poisonous, care needs to be taken at the right time to ensure safety of the person bitten by a snake.
Firstly, you can try to identify whether the snake is poisonous or not. Remember, a poisonous snake leaves a two-pointed bite mark, while a non-poisonous snake leaves a horseshoe-shaped bite mark. Non-poisonous snakes just frighten you and can't harm you in any way. Also, these may cause immediate reactions like the tissue turning black or dark blue or swelling on the affected part of your body or it may also cause nausea.
First Aid for Non-Poisonous Snakebite
Getting bitten by a non-poisonous snake might cause pain or skin infections. But it is not at all very serious. Still, you would be surprised to know, that one could even die just because of the shock. So follow these steps:
  • Help the person to come out of the shock and calm down. Assure the victim, that he/she was bitten by a non-poisonous snake, so there's nothing to worry about.
  • Also, tell him/her that all poisonous snakes are not fully charged with venom and even the fully charged ones don't necessarily inject the poisonous dose. This will help reduce blood pressure, sweating, tremors, shivering or palpitation.
  • Though you have identified that it was a non-poisonous snake, take the victim to a doctor as soon as possible.
First Aid for Poisonous Snakebite
Promptness and instant action is required in this case. Call the emergency medical service before you start the first aid process. Keep in mind, you have to save the victim.
  • Keep the victim calm and assure him that he will be alright. Help him come out of the shock as an increase in the heart rate or tremors may lead to more complications.
  • Remove the clothes and jewelry around the affected body part.
  • Immobilize the affected area without pressurizing it.
  • Wash the wound immediately using warm water and soap.
  • Do not elevate the casualty and keep the bite below the heart level.
  • Observe the patient keenly.
  • Never try to suck the venom with your mouth as you usually do when someone is hurt and the wound bleeds.
  • You should not try to remove the venom by cutting into the wound or by applying suction
  • Do not apply any ice on the wound.
  • Do not give alcohol or hot beverages to the patient.
  • Take the patient to the hospital as soon as possible, for further treatment.
  • Inform the doctor about any signs that you noticed after being bitten by a snake. Conditions like drowsiness, bleeding from gums or dropping-eyelids should be reported to the doctor without fail.
Taking precautions is always better when you travel to places where snakes might be present. Rather, avoid visiting such places, if possible. If you do go, wear knee-length, sturdy and heavy leather shoes, long pants and gloves. Carrying a first aid kit while traveling is very necessary. Make noise while walking. Last but not the least, always be Alert!
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.