So you just got bit by a snake, what should you do? Contrary to what Larry says, you shouldn't put gun powder on the wound and light it! Here is what YOU SHOULD DO:
If possible, take these steps while waiting for medical help:
- Remain calm and move beyond the snake's striking distance.
- Remove jewelry and tight clothing before you start to swell.
- Position yourself, if possible, so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart.
- Clean the wound, but don't flush it with water. Cover it with a clean, dry dressing.
- Don't use a tourniquet or apply ice.
- Don't cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom.
- Don't drink caffeine or alcohol, which could speed the rate at which your body absorbs venom.
- Don't try to capture the snake. Try to remember its color and shape so that you can describe it, which will help in your treatment.
Some definite No No's for Snake Bite First Aid
- NO aspirin or other pain relievers.
- NO tourniquets. This cuts blood flow completely and may result in loss of the affected limb.
- DO NOT try to suck the venom out of the wound or cut into the bite with a knife. Such measures have not been proven useful and may cause further injury (see below explanation).
- DO NOT apply a cold compress or ice on the bite. Research has shown this to be potentially harmful.
- DO NOT raise the wound above the heart. Raising it can cause venom to travel into the body. Holding it down, can increase swelling.
- DO NOT use electric shock or a stun gun on the bite area. This method is under study and has yet to be proven effective. It could harm the victim.
- DO NOT wash the snake bite area - Australian recommendations for snake bite treatment strongly recommend againstcleaning the wound. Traces of venom left on the skin/bandages from the strike can be used in combination with a snake bite identification kit to identify the species of snake. This speeds determination of which anti-venom to administer in the emergency room.(1)
- DO NOT try and capture the snake. If it's safe you can try to take a photo with a camera or with your phone. This is the best way in aiding snake identification.
Let's hope that none of us ever has to use this advice. Keep your eyes and ears open when walking in the desert and you won't become a victim.