About 7,000 venomous snake bite trusted source cases are reported every year in the United States. A bite from a venomous snake is rarely deadly — about 6 fatalities are reported every year — but it should always be treated as a medical emergency. Even a bite from a harmless snake can be serious, leading to an allergic reaction or an infection. Venomous snake bites can produce an array of symptoms, including localized pain and swelling, convulsions, nausea and even paralysis.
First aid steps you can take after a snake bite occurs include cleaning the wound, remaining calm, and immobilizing the affected area. However, it’s essential to get to a medical facility immediately for emergency treatment. If treated in time, the outlook for recovery is good.
When someone has been bitten by a snake, try to find out if the snake was poisonous or harmless. There bite marks are different –
They have fang marks – the bite of a poisonous snake leaves a mark of the 2 fangs (and at rare times, other little marks made by the teeth).
The bite of a snake that is not poisonous leaves only 2 rows of teeth marks made by the teeth.
People often believe that certain harmless snake are poisonous. Try to find out which of the snakes in your area are really poisonous and which are not. Contrary to popular opinion, boa constrictors and pythons are not poisonous.
Please do not kill non-poisonous snakes, because they do no harm. On the contrary, they kill mice and other pest that do lots of damage. Some even kill poisonous snakes.
TREATMENT FAR POISONOUS SNAKEBITE
1. Stay quiet, do not move the part that has been bitten. The more it is moved, the more rapidly the poison will spread through the body.
A person who has been bitten on the foot should not walk, not even one step if it can be avoided. Carry him to a stretcher.
2. Tie a clothe around the limb, just above the bite. Do not tie it very tight, and loosen it for a moment every half hour.
3. With a very clean knife (sterilized in a flame) make a cut into each fang mark – about 1 cm. Long and 1/2 cm deep.
4. Then suck (and spit out) the poison – for a quarter hour.
Note: if more than a half hour has passed since the bite, then do not cut or suck the bite. By then it may do more harm than good.
5. If you can get the right kind of snake-bite antivenin, inject it, being careful to follow the instructions that comes with the medicine.
Take all precautions to prevent allergic shock . In order for the antivenin to be of much help, it should be injected not more than 3 hours after the bite. (for some snakes, like cobras, it should be given very quickly.)
Note: Different parts of the world have different kinds of poisonous snakes – which require different antitoxins (antivenins). Find out what antitoxins are available in your area. Be prepared!
Have snakebite antitoxin ready and study How to use it ahead of time – before someone is bitten!
6. If you can get ice, wrap pieces in thick cloth and pack these around the limb that was bitten.
7. If signs of infection develop, use penicillin.
Poisonous snakebite are dangerous. Send for medical help but always do the things explained above at once.
Most folk remedies for snakebites do little if any good. Never drink alcohol after a snakebite. It makes things worst.