How to Stay Alive if a Snake Bites You
Snakes are fascinating creatures that have filled both human minds and our various forms of media with fear and intrigue for centuries. While the chances of encountering a venomous snake are relatively low, it is important to know how to react and survive in case of a snake bite. In this article, we will discuss the necessary steps you need to take to increase your chances of staying alive if you are unfortunate enough to be bitten by a snake.
Identify the Snake
The first and most crucial step in dealing with a snake bite is to determine whether the snake is venomous or non-venomous. Knowledge about snake identification is essential, as it will help you provide proper medical instructions to the authorities and equip yourself with relevant information about the snake’s venom potency.
Here are a few basic tips to help you identify the snake:
- Observe its coloring and patterns
- Check the shape of its head
- Observe its eyes – venomous snakes have elliptical pupils, while non-venomous snakes have round pupils
- Look for specialized features such as rattles, hoods, or spines
Keep Calm and Move Away from the Snake
Panic can increase your heart rate and accelerate the spread of venom throughout your body. Therefore, it is essential to stay calm and carefully move away from the snake. Do not attempt to capture or kill the snake, as this may put you at unnecessary risk of another bite.
Call for Medical Help
Once you have moved to a safe distance from the snake, call for medical help immediately. Even if you think the snake is non-venomous, it is always better to seek professional medical advice to be on the safe side. Provide the medical authorities with accurate information about the snake if you were able to identify it. This will help them determine the appropriate antivenom to administer, if necessary.
Immobilize the Bitten Area
Immobilizing the bitten area is crucial to slow down the spread of venom. Use a splint or any other available material to restrict the movement of the affected limb. However, be cautious not to make the splint too tight, as it may cut off blood flow and cause further complications.
Wash the Bite with Soap and Water
Clean the snake bite with soap and water to reduce the chances of infection. However, avoid using alcohol or other harsh disinfectants, as they can harm the damaged tissue.
Do Not Cut or Suck the Wound
Contrary to popular belief, cutting the wound or trying to suck out the venom is not recommended. These methods do not effectively remove the venom and can cause further damage to the area surrounding the bite. Additionally, using your mouth to suck the venom can introduce bacteria into the wound, increasing the risk of infection.
Keep the Bite Area Below Heart Level
Positioning the bitten limb below the level of your heart can help slow down the spread of venom. This can be achieved by keeping the limb elevated or lying down with the limb raised on a pillow or any other available object.
Observe and Monitor
After taking the necessary immediate actions, it is important to observe and monitor your symptoms. Symptoms of a snake bite may vary depending on the snake species, venom potency, and individual reactions. Keep an eye out for any signs of swelling, discoloration, difficulty breathing, or dizziness, and inform the medical authorities about any changes immediately.
- Remove any tight clothing or jewelry near the bite area to avoid constriction if swelling occurs
- Stay hydrated to help your body flush out the venom
- Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine, as they can increase heart rate and accelerate venom absorption
- Avoid applying ice or cold packs directly to the bite, as it can damage the tissues
- Do not use a tourniquet
My 2 Cents
Remember, prevention is always better than cure. To reduce the risk of snake bites, educate yourself about the types of snakes in your area, wear appropriate protective clothing when venturing into snake-prone habitats, and be cautious while walking through tall grass or under fallen logs. In the event of a snake bite, staying calm and seeking immediate medical help are the most crucial steps to increase your chances of survival. Every second counts, so make sure you are well-prepared and have a plan in place.
Stay safe and happy exploring!