What to do with a snake bite: instructions and tips
Not all reptiles are poisonous, but any contact with these animals carries one or another threat. Every year, about 5 million people become victims of snake attacks in the world, about 125 thousand of whom die. Wherein what to do if bitten by a snake and how to act in the first minutes, not everyone knows.
The maximum that is known to the average person is that the poison from the wound must be sucked out. But, is this enough for first aid? Experts say that in some cases, such an action can even harm. In the article below, the editors of “With Taste” figure out how to act in order to save the life of yourself and your loved ones when attacked by snakes.
What are the types of snakes and where do they live?
On the territory of the countries of the former USSR, 11 species of snakes are common. Most of them are not poisonous. If a bite occurs, it will be no more dangerous than any other wound. If we talk about poisonous snakes, then we can most often meet the Nikolsky viper, the steppe viper and the common viper. There are two more reptiles that pose a serious danger to humans without being poisonous – these are the Aesculapian snake and the Caspian snake.
Usually vipers are found near swamps, in forests, mountains and meadows. An important condition for their stay in one place or another is the presence of an open area for sunbathing (in the region of 100 m from the nest). It is worth noting that their activity decreases sharply when the air temperature exceeds the average (from 23 degrees). The snakes become lifeless and inactive. Therefore, if a person received a bite in the heat, then most likely he stepped on, sat down or lay down on a reptile. How to protect yourself from snake attacks? Read below.
If you see a snake, try not to make sudden movements. Wait for the animal to crawl away. Snakes, as a rule, simply do not notice stationary objects.
If you are going to an area where snakes can theoretically live, choose appropriate clothing. These are high boots, long trousers made of thick fabric, sweaters with sleeves. Pants must be tucked into boots.
Check your vacation spot
To scare away a snake, before you sit on a stone, haystack, log or grass, rustle or tap on the place of future rest with a stick. As a rule, this works and the snakes immediately crawl away.
What to do when bitten by a snake
First of all, try to get to the hospital as soon as possible. After all, only a qualified doctor can provide the necessary assistance. However, even without immediate medical treatment, a snakebite rarely results in death. If the nearest medical center is far away, provide first aid to the victim yourself, observing the following rules:
- minimize movement, ensure peace;
- treat the bite site with an antiseptic;
- carefully remove clothes and shoes from the affected limb;
- give 2 allergy tablets to drink (if any);
- apply cloth-wrapped ice to the wound;
- do not cauterize the wound;
- you can not drink alcohol;
- take a picture of the snake (for further treatment).
First aid rules for snake bites
First of all, you need to protect yourself and the victim. Remember, if the snake does not crawl away immediately, it may attack again. Therefore, it must be driven away or destroyed in any way – with a stick, a shovel, a stone.
- Position the casualty comfortably and keep him completely still. Muscle contraction increases blood flow: from this, the poison penetrates into the blood even faster. Therefore, a splint is placed on the affected limb. A relatively tight bandage should be applied just above the wound. This will block the lymphatic and venous outflow, which in turn will slow down the spread of the poison. It is important that one finger passes between the fabric and the skin.
- Remove from the person everything that can crush. A snake bite can cause severe swelling. Remove rings, watches, and bracelets first. They can be very painful to cut into the skin. Tight clothing should be unbuttoned so as not to press, but not removed (avoid unnecessary body movements).
- Removal of poison from the wound is the main method to reduce the flow of toxic substances into the body. Today, there is an active debate on the topic of whether it is permissible to suck out the poison by mouth. Many believe that in this way the rescuer can poison himself. However, experience shows that such cases are rare and are associated with injuries in the oral cavity. Even if the poison is accidentally swallowed, then it will be safe. Reptile poison consists of protein and is instantly destroyed by the action of enzymes and stomach acids. It is preferable to remove the poison with any vacuum device (rubber syringe or syringe). However, in extreme cases, this can also be done by mouth – the risks for the rescuer are disproportionately lower than the danger for the victim.
- After suction, which should take about 15 minutes, the wound should be treated with an antiseptic (without alcohol), bandaged or covered with a plaster. Then antihistamines are administered intramuscularly, and if available, hormones (dexamethasone, prednisolone).
- The victim must be taken as quickly as possible to the nearest medical facility, where he will be injected with a special serum. This is a drug that blocks the poison and removes it from the body. With timely medical care, the chances of survival increase dramatically. The main thing is not to panic, but act with a cool head.
- Leave a note for the doctors. This item is especially important for those who are far from the hospital and are not able to get medical help quickly. Write down the date and time of the bite, the size of the redness, and any symptoms that appear. If possible, measure the circumference of the limb below and above the bite site.
Most snakes are not aggressive, but when provoked, they can attack first. We recommend that you be extremely careful in nature, look under your feet, wear closed shoes and appropriate clothing. If you see an animal, slowly walk around it. After all, even timely assistance may not always save your life.