Best Way to Treat a Snakebite
- Call 911 before you do anything. Or, if you can, drive straight to the nearby emergency clinic. We do not wish to frighten you, however snake venom can result in amputation of the infected limb if it's not treated rapidly.
- Know what not to do. Don't have somebody suck out the venom (they'll infect the injury and make themselves ill); don't put ice on the bite or aim to cool it off in any way; do not make a tourniquet, unless you want to lose the limb; and don't cut into the bite.
- Keep the bite location below heart level If you're awaiting aid to get here, keep the bite listed below heart level. By using a first aid kit or survival emergency kit it should help some.
- Loosen clothing - Loosen or eliminate any tight clothes around arms and legs.
- Wash the bite Wash the bite area with soap and water.
- Check out the snake's eyes - If you or another person managed to eliminate the snake, look into its eyes. Vertical pupils suggest harmful snakes, while round students are typically the sign of harmless ones. In any case, bring the dead snake to the ER with you.
- Quick Suggestion: The exception to the pupil rule is the coral snake, which has round students and bands of red, yellow, and black. So remember this little ditty: 'If red touches yellow, it can kill a fellow.'
- Avoid future bites by looking before you step-- or put your hand into any tall brush or dark crevice. In the wild, utilize a walking stick to sweep the area in front of you as you walk. And if you do see a snake, slowly retreat from it!
Did You Know: Less than 10 people die each year in the United States from snakebites.