Snakes are truly remarkable – successful in the sea, on land, in the tallest of grass, forests and many more habitats around the world. Even though they have a sinister reputation, the truth is that the snake is more scared of you than you are of them. Unless a snake is provoked, they will tend to not act aggressively towards humans. However, in the unlikely event of a snake bite, one will need to know what to do. Here we look at how to treat a snake bite, including first aid procedures and treatments that one needs to be aware of.
All about the bite
When a snake injects poison all venom, poison passes from the venom gland into the fangs and then finally into the creature it has bit. Dry snake bites can still cause serious injuries, as snake bites can become infected with snake saliva and fangs, which are sometimes inhabited by pathogenic microorganisms. The percentage of dry biting is approximately 25 to 50%, yet for the remaining times that venom is injected, one will need to know how to deal with it.
First aid and tips
Whether one experiences a grass snake bite or a corn snake bite, they should go to the emergency department of their nearest hospital. It is not important to try and second-guess whether the snake was venomous, rather medical attention should be sought as soon as possible. If, however, someone was to identify a venomous snake, the ID should be reported to the emergency department which will be able to prepare antivenom quickly. It should also be stated that bites from nonvenomous snakes require appropriate wound care and the victim needs to receive a tetanus booster if they have not had one within the last five years.
Here are some first aid steps that should be taken:
- Wash wounds with a large amount of water and soap. Take a look notice if there are any broken teeth or dirt in the wound.
- One should prevent another bite or a second victim, however, they should never try and catch snakes because this could lead to additional biting. Even if a snake has injected their venom, they can still go around biting other people.
- Try to identify and describe the snake in order to help the authorities are now contacted, but only do so without posing a risk.
- Try to remove any items that could cut off blood flow if there is swelling around the bite area, such as jewellery or rings.
- Transport the victim safely to an emergency medical hospital or facility.
It is worth mentioning that if one can be sure that the victim has been bitten by an elapid, applying a pressure immobilizer is a good way of dealing with the situation. Locate the bite site and wrap a bandage around it with a lot of pressure, much like how one would wrap a sprained ankle. After this, immobilize the extremity with a wooden splint. By doing this, one can help to prevent some seizure effects of venom as well as systemic effects that could make the damage worse. The most important point is to try and get towards authorities that can help as soon as possible and one should not lose sight of this when dealing with a victim that has been bitten by this type of snake.
In dealing with a situation like this, it is important to know how medical professionals will approach it. Doctors will typically assess to see if the bite is life-threatening. If one has a lot of difficulty with reading, they may need access to ventilator machines to help them cope. In the same way, those who are experiencing shock might need a combination of medicines and intravenous fluids to make sure that blood flows to their organs.
Antivenom will be administered if it is available for the specific type of snake. This can really save someone’s life if administered at the right time. It’s a difficult decision to make because there can be some significant side-effects such as anaphylactic shock or allergic reactions, however, antivenom is still doctors go-to treatment of choice.
No one wants a snake bite
Unless we’re talking about a snake bite drink, nobody wants a snake bite! Hopefully now after reading our guide, you’ll be fully equipped to deal with a situation if it comes into play, whether you’re dealing with a corn snake bite, a rattlesnake or any other. Remember to avoid further biting, stay safe and alerts the authorities as soon as possible.
Have you ever had to attend to any snake bite first aid? We’d love to hear your experiences, so tell us in our comments section below.
About the Author:
Thomas Glare is a big animal lover. He lives in West California and what is a copywriter on a freelance basis, having written countless pieces for various websites and publications. Fun fact: Thomas has a pet snake at home and this particular species is the most poisonous snake in the world. He preferred this species because he read the Book of ra that inspired him.