As summer keeps moving on, many of us will take to the forests and the woods to enjoy some of the natures best camping facilities. Camping is a very fun and leisurely activity and a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. However, there are some dangers that we need to be aware of as well, such as snakes. What would you so if you were bitten by a snake? Would you suck the venom out? Would you run to the park ranger? Would you sit there like many of us crying and screaming not knowing what to do? Well hopefully this article will help you make the right decision if you encountered this situation.
If you or someone with you is bitten by a snake, it is vital to seek appropriate medical treatment. It is equally vital to avoid making inappropriate attempts at treatment; such mistakes can cause more problems that they solve. What to do in any particular case depends on the circumstances surrounding the bite.
What to DO
While not all snake bites are life-threatening, it is important to follow these simple step:
Remain calm (or, if the victim is someone other than yourself calm her/her down)
If possible, call for emergency assistance.
Gentle was the area with soap and water.
Apply a cold, wet cloth over the bite.
Get yourself or the victim to the nearest hospital emergency room for further treatment
What NOT to Do
The list of measures that should be avoided in response to snakebite include:
Do Not apply a tourniquet. This has been the cause of numerous amputations. It is possible that the application of a tourniquet is more dangerous that the snakebite itself.
DO NOT pack the entire bitten area in ice. This can block circulation and cause injury to tissue, or even gangrene. An ice pack or some cubes wrapped in cloth, applied periodically to the skin, is the maximum you want to use.
DO NOT cut the wound with a knife or a razor. Older first-aid kits contain cutters, but excessive bleeding can cause more damage. If you happen to cut an artery, the victim can bleed to death. Unless you happen to be a vascular surgeon, leave the razor blades in your pack.
DO NOT use your mouth to “suck out” the venom. The average human mouth has so many bacteria in it that infection of the would almost be certain, complicating treatment in the long run.
DO NOT drink alcohol (or give it to the victim)
IF you can safely kill the snake, do so and decapitate it. Bury the head and bring the body with you to the emergency room for identification. The correct antivenin can then be selected at the hospital. DO NOT BRING THE HEAD!!! A decapitated snake head can bite up to an hour after its death!
There is one type of snakebite kit that is worthwhile. It is called Sawyer Extractor, and is available from Sawyer Products. It contains a syringe-like device that does work to suck out venom without requiring you to open up the fang wounds with a tool. This prevents excessive bleeding and contamination of the wound. This kit will probably out about half the venom if it is used quickly (within five minutes of the bite is recommended). These are available from many sporting goods stores and on the Internet for less than twenty dollars. If you are going to be someplace in snake country that is really far from civilization, having one of these kits in your backpack is a necessity. After you use it, transport to the nearest hospital is still required so that proper care can be administered!
Bottom line is, like everything we do, we need to be careful. We need to make sure that all precautions are taken and that we are prepared for any type of emergency. Before you leave on your camping trip, sit and think what could go wrong and plan accordingly. It is better to be over-prepaired than under. Make sure you call Goings Natural Health and Bodywork Center when you get back. We will make sure your to get your body back to its normal state with our body treatments or halth consultations.
- Snakebite treatment buys time (sciencenews.org)
- Adrenaline given before snakebite anti-venom treatment reduces allergic reactions (medicalxpress.com)
- The Reptile Rescue Squad (thebutterflydiaries.wordpress.com)
- When the Snake Bites … Try Ointment (news.sciencemag.org)