In this article, you will learn how to treat a venomous snake bite in the wild.
There are only a few lethal snakes, but a few hundred species are still very dangerous that you need to keep an eye out for them. They can sneak up in the bushes.
The next time you’re walking through the forest, or just anywhere near where snakes are typically found, it’s best to approach with an abundance of caution for your own safety.
Let’s dive in.
Prevent it in the First Place
As always, the best method to treat a snake bite is to avoid it. You won’t need to treat a snake bit in the wild if you never got a snake bite. Avoid hiking in snake-infested areas if you can.
But if you must, then wear sturdy boots that cover your ankles, take caution when walking through tall grass, and be very careful when stepping or reaching under rocks where snakes commonly rest.
Poke the ground in front of you with a long stick to scare snakes away when traveling through tall grass or weeds.
Additionally, when stepping outside at night, use a flashlight to illuminate your path. Snakes have a reflective surface behind their eyes, so you’ll definitely be able to spot them when lit.
They also leave telltale marks in places they’ve been, which should help you raise your alertness. You might find molted snake skin in a heap on the ground, or some slither tracks along dry paths.
In this case, make sure to be even more cautious with your movements, so as to not potentially startle them, triggering an attack.
Finally, even if you think a snake is dead, never handle it. Snakes that have recently been killed may still bite as a reflex.
If you’re not in the wilderness, consider reading snake-repellent plants you need in your garden.
How to Treat a Venomous Snake Bite
0. Have an Anti-Venom on Hand
If you’re fortunate enough to read this beforehand, having an anti-venom could save your life. Every year, nearly 10,000 Americans are bitten by a venomous snake.
Below is the anti-venom. I highly recommend putting that in your bag if your location has snakes around. It is extremely cheap and light. No reason not to have it.
Ever Ready First Aid Snake Bite Venom Extractor Kit Latex Free
- Strong anti-venom
- Compact and lightweight
- Extremely affordable
1. Keep your Cool
If you get bitten, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Panicking is more likely to get you more in danger than the bite itself, because then you are not able to administer or seek the first aid you need.
Physiologically speaking, panicking is harmful because it raises your heart rate and blood flow, which increases venom absorption and causes you to make poor decisions.
This puts you at a far higher risk of serious infection. To help doctors treat you, note the snake’s color, size, form, and pattern.
2. Prevent Swelling
Remove any jewelry, shoes, or tight clothing that could constrain the bite region. Rapid swelling could occur, resulting in more harm.
3. Lift your Limb
Lift your bitten arm or leg at heart level. You will also need to keep that arm or leg very still. This will reduce blood flow.
4. Clean the Bite Wound
Before loosely bandaging the wound, disinfect the biting area with clean water. The purpose of washing the wound is to get rid of any dirt that has become lodged in the area.
Keep in mind that washing the wound completely may remove the poison. This would make treatment more difficult, especially if you didn’t notice which snake bit you.
5. Seek Medical Help
If you believe you were bitten by a venomous snake, call 911 immediately so they’ll know what type of help to send. Then, if possible, travel to a hospital as quickly as possible.
In most parts of the US, you should have enough time to seek medical attention before the bite poses a significant threat to your life.
While you are waiting for medical attention, monitor your own heart rate and breathing rate.
6. Prevent Further Spread
Tie an elastic wrap two inches above the bite if medical help is more than 30 minutes distant. It should be possible to slip a finger underneath the wrap.
Now you know how to treat a snake bite in the wild.
What to Avoid
There are really only three main things you have to avoid.
- Do not try to bleed the wound. This does not help remove the venom and might only aggravate the bitten area.
- Do not suck out the venom. The medical responders will need to determine what kind of venom is in your system to provide the proper antidote for it.
- Do not ice the bitten area.
How to Tell if Your Snake Bite is Venomous
There are a few indicators that a snake bite is venemous. Here are a few of them:
- Your wound hurts a lot
- Your skin is turning blue or is becoming a lot paler
- Blurred vision
- Changes thinking
- Lack of blood clotting
Most Venemous Snakes
If you want to learn a few of the lethal snakes, here’s a great video made by the Discovery channel that covers some.
A snake that wasn’t mentioned here is the Copperhead snake – here is an article on completely harmless copperhead lookalikes.
Unless a snake has bitten you with extremely harmful venom, the results of most snake bites are entirely dependent on how you react.
The trick is to maintain your composure so the venom does not enter your bloodstream, where it might be lethal.
So, now you know how to treat a snake bite in the wild. The best thing you can do is prevent it, but if a snake has bitten you, then prevent any venom from entering your bloodstream.
I hope you found this useful, and keep prepping!
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Thank you for this lesson on snake bites.Always been very scared of them and I know I would panic. This helps to know what you should do.I’m a senior with Parkinson’s so I need to learn what I can.Thanks again. Darlyne Dabbs