Snakes exist in almost every part of the world. Of the approximately 8000 reported snake bites each year, however, fewer than 12 result in fatality. This is due in part to the fact that about two thirds of all poisonous snake bites involve little or no venom; these are called “dry bites.” Baby snakes are more dangerous in this regard as they have not yet learned to save their venom for prey. If venom is injected, symptoms will begin rapidly and include pain, swelling, weakness, dizziness, fever, or chills. First Aid for snakebite includes:
- Immediately remove all constricting clothing and jewelry from the extremity.
- Wash the bite area with soap and warm water.
- Keep wound site at or below heart level, and seek immediate medical attention.
- Sometimes a constricting band may be used on snakebite, but it must not significantly affect circulation and it should be loose enough for you to slip your fingers underneath.
Do not apply ice to snakebites, as it may crystallize the venom and compound the reaction.
Do not attempt to “cut and suck” the venom, even using a snakebite kit. In order to be effective, the suction must be applied almost immediately, and the danger of severing an artery can outweigh the danger from the venom.