What to do after a snakebite

What to do after a snakebite
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What to do after a snakebite? [Tom's Guide]

Knowing the right steps to take immediately after a bite can significantly improve the chances of a full recovery.

Getting bitten by a snake can be a frightening and potentially dangerous experience.

However, knowing the right steps to take immediately after a bite can significantly improve the chances of a full recovery.

Here’s what to do after a snakebite

Here are things you need to do if you or someone else is bitten by a snake:

Stay calm and call for help

Panic can exacerbate the situation, causing an increased heart rate that may speed up the spread of venom. Stay as calm as possible and seek medical care immediately.

Identify the snake

If possible, try to remember the colour, shape, and size of the snake. This information can help medical professionals determine the appropriate treatment, as different snakes have different types of venom.

What to do if you get bitten by a snake [iStock]
What to do if you get bitten by a snake [iStock]

Keep the victim still

Minimise movement to prevent the venom from spreading rapidly through the bloodstream. Have the victim lie down with the bite below the level of the heart if possible. Keep the affected limb immobilised and avoid any strenuous activities.

Remove tight clothing and jewellery

As swelling may occur, it’s important to remove any tight clothing, rings, or other constrictive items near the bite site. This can help prevent further complications and discomfort.

Clean the bite area

Gently wash the bite area with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. Do not apply ice, cut the wound, or use a tourniquet, as these actions can worsen the situation.

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Keep the bite area at heart level

Keeping the bite area at or slightly below heart level can help slow the spread of venom. Avoid elevating the bite above heart level, as this can increase the flow of venom to vital organs.

Monitor vital signs

Keep an eye on the victim’s breathing, heart rate, and level of consciousness. Be prepared to administer CPR if necessary and if you are trained to do so. Stay with the victim and offer reassurance until medical help arrives.

Avoid unproven home remedies

Refrain from using home remedies or folk treatments, such as applying suction devices, using electric shocks, or consuming alcohol. These methods are not effective and can be harmful.

Transport to the hospital

If emergency services are not immediately available, transport the victim to the nearest medical facility as quickly and safely as possible. Keep the victim calm and still during transportation.

While knowing what to do after a snake bite is crucial, preventing bites in the first place is equally important.

Some preventive measures include avoiding snake-prone areas, wearing protective clothing, being cautious and keeping snakes away from your environment.


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