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    Snakebite Treatment

    Call 911 if: 

    • There is any chance that the snake is venomous
    • The person has difficulty breathing
    • There is loss of consciousness

    • There is any chance that the snake is venomous
    • The person has difficulty breathing
    • There is loss of consciousness

    If you know the snake is not venomous, treat as a puncture wound.

    1. Note the Snake's Appearance

    • Be ready to describe the snake to emergency staff.

    2. Protect the Person

    While waiting for medical help:

    • Move the person beyond striking distance of the snake.
    • Have the person lie down with wound below the heart.
    • Keep the person calm and at rest, remaining as still as possible to keep venom from spreading.
    • Cover the wound with loose, sterile bandage.
    • Remove any jewelry from the area that was bitten.
    • Remove shoes if the leg or foot was bitten.

    Do not:

    • Cut a bite wound
    • Attempt to suck out venom
    • Apply tourniquet, ice, or water
    • Give the person alcohol or caffeinated drinks or any other medications

    3. Follow Up

    If you treat the bite at home:

    At the hospital, treatment will depend on the type of snake.

    • If the snake was venomous, the person will be given anti-venom treatment.
    • A tetanus shot may be given, depending on date of last injection.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on November 23, 2015

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