LivingWhat to do if bitten by a poisonous snake

What to do if bitten by a poisonous snake

Despite what many may think, not all snakes are poisonous . However, Snakebites is nothing short of a real-life horror movie. Approximately 5.4 million snakebites occur each year, resulting in between 1.8 and 2.7 million cases of snakebite poisoning . Every year between 81,410 and 137,880 people die, with about three times as many limb amputations and lasting disabilities.

Sometimes, when you are camping, trekking or on a nature trip, there are many chances to come across our friends the snakes. In fact, they are very elusive creatures and their presence can rarely be predicted by non-professionals and ordinary people. They are very good at blending in with their surroundings. Being bitten by a snake can be shocking and truly terrifying, but the first thing to do is not to panic and contact the emergency services . Next, we will tell you a series of things that can be done in case you are unlucky enough to find yourself in such a situation. Maybe you don’t have a lot of time to learn first aid at the moment, so this article can help you .


Types of snake bites

During a venomous snake bite, the snake injects, secretes, or spits out toxins (venom) into the punctured skin wound, mucous membranes, or eyes, where the toxin can be absorbed. Every year, between 20,000 and 100,000 people die from snake bites around the world. The most common venomous snakes are rattlesnakes , copperheads, cottonmouths, and coral snakes. The first three are pit vipers (with two mobile fangs and a pit to detect changes in temperature), while the coral snake is an elapid with small fixed fangs (teeth) and no base. Brown snakes are also very deadly and elapid.

A nonvenomous snakebite is a bite or puncture wound caused by a snake that is unable to secrete venom. It is important to distinguish this from a dry bite . A dry bite is when a deadly snake bites you without injecting any venom . Even nonvenomous snake bites and dry bites should be investigated as they can cause significant tissue injury or infection.


Snake bite symptoms

The type of toxin produced in the bite or puncture wound, as well as the amount of toxin present in the tissue, determine the signs and symptoms of a venomous snake bite. There are four categories of toxins: cardiotoxins, neurotoxins, cytotoxins, and hemotoxins . But common signs include puncture marks at the wound site, redness, swelling, bruising, bleeding or blisters around the bite. You may also experience tenderness and severe pain at the site of the bite, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, labored breathing (in extreme cases, breathing may stop completely), low blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, and a weak pulse.

You may also experience vision disturbances, a metallic, minty or gummy taste in your mouth, increased sweating and salivation; tingling or numbness around the face and/or extremities, and muscle twitching.

Depending on the type of toxin and the amount ingested, symptoms of these poisons can appear quickly or take hours to appear. In general, young children are more sensitive to snake bites as the impact of the toxin is more intense due to the greater relative amount of toxin ingested relative to their smaller body size. Complications from snake bites are more likely in people who have medical conditions such as heart disease or other chronic illnesses. Many toxins act quickly, denying the immune system the chance to counteract the toxin’s effects.


Immediate action after a snake bite

The region surrounding the wound, poisonous or not, is likely to itch, sore, and swell. To slow the spread of the poison, stay calm and cool. Remove any jewelry or wristwatch that could cut the skin if swelling occurs, and cover the wound with a dry, sterile towel or gently bandage it . If possible, ask to be carried because any exertion could increase the absorption of the poison, and quickly seek medical help by calling for medical assistance or going to the nearest emergency room.

Identify the snake and remember its description . The doctors will ask you for the details of the snake. Snake identification allows emergency medical personnel to predict possible symptoms and treat venomous snake bites more quickly and effectively. A precise explanation and a photo of the snake will help determine the species of the snake and the type of toxin.


Things not to do after a snake bite

Do not try to catch the snake or pick it up (this may put you or someone else at risk of being bitten), do not use tourniquets , do not use knives to cut the wound, do not drink the venom , do not cold compresses or ice should be applied to the wound or submerged in water, alcohol should not be used on the wound, pain relievers, or caffeinated beverages.


How to prevent a snake bite

It is really difficult to avoid certain bites. For example, one of the most frequent situations is that of a snake that bites you if you step on it in the forest by accident. Therefore, it is much more useful to know what to do in the event that you are bitten by a snake. However, there are precautions you can take to lower your risk of being bitten . First of all, you have to leave the snakes alone, don’t be “the brave one” of the group. Many people are bitten when they try to kill a snake or get too close to it.

On the other hand, on excursions where it is possible to find poisonous snakes, prioritize leather boots . If you don’t have thick leather boots or other boots that provide sufficient safety, stay out of tall grass and stick to hiking trails as much as possible. Keep your hands and feet out of places where you can’t see them. If you pick up stones or firewood, for example while camping, make sure you are out of reach of a snake. When climbing rocks or hiking, be cautious and be aware of your surroundings.




How to prevent or respond to snake bite (2018). CDC: Centers of Disease COntrol and Prevention.

Snakebite envenoming (2021). WHO: World Health Organization.

Snake Bites (s.f.). Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Venomous Snake Bites: Symptoms & First Aid. (2021). CDC: Centers of Disease COntrol and Prevention.

What to Do If You’re Bitten by a Snake (2019).  | Cedars-Sinai.

Slaves and Disabled: Forced Medical Test Volunteers

The main problem to carry out medical research is to have willing volunteers for it. And if they come out for free, much better. This is the story of unethical behavior in medical research.

Invest in the air? The best option to protect your health this season

Breathing cleaner air in any room in your home or office is ideal. TruSens air purifiers are effective at removing smoke, dust, viruses and bacteria.

VITIS: how to boost health in 60 seconds

Using a cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) mouthwash is a highly effective protective measure that helps us protect our health.

Women are better at doing crosswords

A new study has revealed that women have a 'small but robust' advantage over time.

A coffee in a disposable cup can have more than 1,500 microplastics

A study shows that we can ingest between 37,000 and 90,000 microplastics a year using this type of disposable cup.