Snakebites

Snakebites

If someone has been snake bitten, get the victim away from the snake. Check the snakebite for puncture wounds. If one or two fang marks are visible, the bite is from a poisonous snake. Remember what the snake looks like. The doctor will need to know this to provide the proper treatment.

* Keep the victim calm, lying down, and with the bitten arm or leg below the level of the heart to slow the blood flowing from the wound to the heart. The more the victim moves, the faster the venom will spread through the body.
* Clean the wound, but be careful to wipe away from the bite. This keeps any venom on the unbroken skin around the bite from being wiped into the wound.

* Watch for any symptoms such as sharp pain, bruising, swelling around the bite, weakness, shortness of breath, blurred vision, drowsiness, or vomiting.

* Get the victim to the hospital as soon as possible.

If any of the above mentioned symptoms occur within 30 minutes from the time of the bite, and you are over two hours away from a hospital or any medical help, tie a constricting band (3/4 to 1-1/2 inches wide) two inches above the bite or above the swelling. The band needs to be loose enough to slip a finger underneath it. The band slows blood flow away from the bite, keeping the venom from reaching the heart. The band must be applied within 30 minutes after the time of the bite to be effective. If the swelling spreads, move the band so that it is two inches above the swelling.

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