Most snake bites occur if the animal has been disturbed or provoked such as when accidentally stepping on the snake.
Some snakes are venomous and can inject venom during a bite. The snake bites from venomous species is considered as a medical emergency since it can be fatal if not promptly treated.
What should I do after being bitten?
Right after snake bites, the following must be done:
- Stay calm and do not panic. Remember that snake bites can be serious and deadly especially from the venomous species.
- Note down the size, shape and color of the snake if possible.
- The site of the bite must be kept still as possible to prevent the venom from spreading throughout the body.
- Remove any jewelry and watches from the affected limb since it can cut into the skin once the limb becomes swollen.
- Do not attempt to remove any clothing but try to loosen if possible.
Once these measures are done, seek immediate medical attention.
Management of snake bites
If bitten by a snake, call for emergency assistance right away. Generally, the individual must stay in a healthcare facility for a short period. This is done so that the individual is under monitoring in case symptoms of venom injection will manifest.
Antivenom is an antidote to the snake venom that is given to treat severe snake bites. It includes antibodies which are proteins that neutralizes the effects of the venom.
In some individuals, the antivenoms can trigger anaphylaxis which is why close monitoring is vital after this treatment is started.
For severe cases of snake bites and the blood pressure significantly dropped, intravenous fluids are given. Additionally, a blood transfusion is also started if the individual lost a lot of blood.
The recovery period for snake bites varies on the species involved. In most cases, children can fully recovery in 1-2 weeks. As for adults, it might take more than 3 weeks to completely recover.
The administration of antivenom can shorten these times. During recovery, the individual might experience episodes of pain and swelling in the site of the bite. These symptoms can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications and continuing to exercise the affected limb.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on snake bites is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage a bite, register for a first aid and CPR course with Toronto First Aid.