Snake bites generally occur as a self-defense measure if provoked or disturbed. Most cases of bites arise if an individual unintentionally steps on a snake while walking or hiking in the countryside.
Some snakes are poisonous and can inject venom that contains toxins as they deliver a bite. This is considered as a medical emergency since it can be fatal if not promptly treated.
What should I do after a bite?
When it comes to snake bites, the following must be done right after being bitten:
- Instruct the individual to remain calm and do not panic
- Ask the individual if he/she noted the size, shape and color of the snake
- Keep the bite site immobile or still as possible to prevent the spread of the snake venom all over the body
- Remove any watches or jewelry from the affected limb since they can cut through the skin once swelling starts
- Do not try to remove any clothing but loosen them up if possible
Seek immediate medical attention by calling for an ambulance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department.
Management of snake bites
If an individual was bit by a snake, bring him/her to the nearest emergency department or call for emergency assistance.
Generally, most cases of snake bites will require hospitalization for a brief span of time. This will ensure that the individual is under monitoring in case symptoms arise that indicates that venom was injected.
As a precautionary measure, the individual should remain in a healthcare facility for a minimum of 24 hours to monitor the general health and blood pressure of the individual.
Close look on antivenoms
Antivenoms are basically antidotes to the venom and given for severe snake bites. They contain antibodies which are proteins that neutralize the effects of the venom toxins. In some individuals, the antivenom can instigate anaphylaxis which is why the individual is monitored closely after treatment.
The recovery period for snake bites tend to vary depending on the snake species involved. During the recovery phase, it is expected to suffer from phases of swelling and pain in the bite site. These symptoms can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medications and continuing to exercise the affected limb.
Disclaimer / More Information
The information posted on this page on snake bites is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to provide first aid care for a snake bite, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.