What to do if a snake bites you or a loved one
There are a wide variety of snakes living in the southern United States. Generally, snakes will only bite if you provoke or startle them. More often than not, if you ignore them, they will ignore you. It is important to be aware of your surroundings when outside, especially near bodies of water and areas of overgrowth.
While most of the snakes in the United States are non-venomous, there are four venomous snakes that you will need to keep an eye out for when outside: rattlesnakes, copperhead snakes, cottonmouth snakes and coral snakes. There are features that distinguish a venomous snake from a non-venomous snake, such as the rattlesnake’s rattle and the coral snake’s bright rings of color; but it’s best to seek medical attention immediately if a snake bites you or someone you know, because some snakebites can be deadly.
What to do if a snake bites
If a snakebite occurs, it is critical to remain calm and to try to remember details of what the snake looks like. This will help medical professionals administer the proper treatment. Keep the bite area below the heart to reduce the spreading of the venom. Seek medical help quickly.
It is important to remember:
- Move out of the snake’s striking distance.
- Don’t try to remove the venom, especially by using the mouth.
- Don’t create a tourniquet.
- Don’t drink alcohol or any beverage with caffeine as these can amplify the rate of venom spreading.
- Don’t apply ice.
- Remove rings and other jewelry in case swelling occurs.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
Most of the hundreds of species of snakes in the United States are non-venomous. After seeking medical attention, you should treat snakebites like a normal wound. Keep the area clean with no bandage, and keep an eye out for any signs of infection.
The board-certified, emergency medicine physicians at Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center are fully equipped to handle a snakebite incident. They are committed to providing premier medical care with little or no wait for you and your family. Visit www.velocitycare.com/locations to find the walk-in clinic nearest you.
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