So you’ve been snake bitten. What will you do next?
First things first. Stay calm. Call 911. Realize that most snake bites are non-venomous (A really quick tip regarding the likelihood of a venomous snake: most have triangular heads.). Here’s 10 additional steps to take while waiting for your help to arrive.
5 Things To Do
- Protect yourself. Get out of the snake’s striking distance. It should be trying to get away from you as well.
- Lie down. Keep the wound below the level of the heart.
- Be still. Activity simply facilitates spreading of any venom present.
- Cover the wound with a loose, clean dressing. Immobilize the extremity if possible.
- Remove all restrictive clothing and jewelry from the area, because the area will swell.
5 Things Not to Do
- Try to suck out venom.
- Try to cut out the area bitten.
- Apply any constrictive dressings.
- Apply any cold or ice packs to the wound site.
- Run to help.
If you’re lucky enough to have a snake bite kit, you’ll simply follow those instructions, which are a modified version of the instructions I’ve just given.
You will need to be seen by a health care provider for consideration of the following:
- Anti-venom may be needed.
- Tetanus immunization may be needed.
- Appropriate wound cleaning will be needed.
- Antibiotics for skin infection may be needed.
Let me know if you have any questions.