A poisonous snake has two needle-sharp fangs or teeth, one each side of the upper jaw. At the root of the fang there is a poison gland. When the snake strikes, it jabs down-ward, hitting the skin with its fang and immediately releasing a few drops of venom. The snake then recoils, and is ready to strike again.
If the fang happens to enter the vein, the poison is quickly carried through the body. Snakes are always more dangerous in the early spring when they crawling out from their winter retreats.
Pain and swelling almost always follow the bite of a poisonous snake. The pain is felt immediately, and the swelling soon follows. The skin become purple in color, and one or two tiny puncture points may be seen in the area where the fang passed through the skin.
What to do:
- Tie a tourniquet or ligature around the limb, just above the are of the bite. Use a handkerchief, necktie, shoelace, or other suitable material for this purpose. The tourniquet should be just tight enough to stop the follow of blood in the surface vessels. You can tell whether it is tight enough by observing how much the veins swell just below the ligature. This tight band helps to slow up the absorption of poison.
- Keep the victim lying down with the affected limb of little lower than the rest of the body.
- Sterilize a sharp knife or razor blade, by passing it through a flame. With the tip of the blade make a number of cuts across the area of the bite, about a quarter of an inch deep, so that the blood will flow freely.
- Apply suction to draw out the venom. Do this every few minutes with your mouth. There is no danger if there are no sores or cuts in your mouth. The venom is not poisonous, even if you swallowed. Another good suction method is to heat a small bottle so most of the air has passed out of it. Press the bottle firmly over the area of the wound. As it cools, it will provide suction. Keep the bottle over the area for several minutes.
- Take the victim to a doctor as soon as possible. Adjust the tourniquet as outlined this post: Applying a Tourniquet.
- If the swelling continues above the ligature, move the band up higher and make a few more cuts along the course of the blood vessel draining that area. Do not put any local medications on the bite. They are of no value in cases like this.
- If the victim seems weak or dizzy, give him strong tea or coffee. Never give alcohol. This only spreads the poisons through the body more quickly.
- Antivenin. Most countries now provide antivenin to neutralize the poison of the snake. Your doctor will know where too obtain this. Follow the directions carefully. Remember, children require much larger doses than adults. If necessary, inject four or five ampoules of antivenin into the muscle around the area of the bite. It is wise to give some antivenin also in the vein, so that whether the snake poison travels in the body, the antivenin will quickly neutralize its effect.
- Tetanus antitoxin should be given to all snake bite victims, at least 3,000 units being injected.
- Keep your self calm. Avoid excitement. Keep the victim quiet. With proper care most of these cases seem to make a good recovery.
Snake Bite Prevention:
Snake usually bite in self-defense. Watch where you walk, especially in areas where snake are known to exist. Make sure your feet are well protected by high boots. Young children should be taught the danger of handling snakes and other reptiles. Always be careful to avoid using the bare hands when climbing over rock ledges where snakes may be lurking.
How to Survive a Venomous Snake Bite : How to Use An Extractor to Remove Snake Venom