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Snakebite Treatment

Call 911 if: 

  • There is any chance that the snake is venomous

  • There is any chance that the snake is venomous

 

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 still to keep venom from spreading.
  • Cover the wound with loose, sterile bandage.

Do not:

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

3. Follow Up

If you treat the bite at home:

  • Contact a health care provider. The person may need a tetanus shot. Tetanus boosters should be given every 10 years.

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 David T. Derrer, MD on October 29, 2013

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