Snake and Lizard Bites - Home Treatment
Avoid these treatment measures
Avoid doing anything
that might cause more problems with the snake or lizard bite.
Do not cut the bite
Do not suck on the bite wound or use
any kind of extraction device.
Do not use a
constriction band, such as a tourniquet or bandage, on a
Do not soak your hand or foot in ice
water or pack your arm or leg in ice. This can increase damage to the skin and
cause a cold-induced injury, such as frostbite.
Do not raise the bitten arm or leg above your head. This may increase the
flow of venom into the bloodstream.
Do not drink alcohol.
Do not give any
prescription or nonprescription medicines after a poisonous snake or lizard
bite unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines, such as aspirin,
ibuprofen, or naproxen, may cause increased bleeding.
Nonpoisonous snake or lizard bite
If you are certain
the snake or lizard was not poisonous, use home treatment measures to reduce
symptoms and prevent infection.
- Use direct pressure to stop any bleeding .
- Look at the wound to make sure a snake or
lizard tooth is not in the wound. If you can see a tooth, remove it with
tweezers, taking care to not push it farther into the wound.
the bite as soon as possible to reduce the chance of infection, scarring, and
tattooing of the skin from dirt left in the wound. Wash the wound for 5 minutes
with large amounts of warm water and soap (mild dishwashing soap, such as
Ivory, works well).
- Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen
peroxide, iodine, or Mercurochrome, which can harm the tissue and slow wound
- Soak the wound in warm water for 20 minutes, 2 to 4 times
a day, for the next 4 to 5 days. The warmth from the water will increase the
blood flow to the area, which helps reduce the chance of
- Puncture wounds usually heal well and may not need a
bandage. You may want to use a bandage if you think the bite will get dirty or
- Clean the wound thoroughly before putting
the bandage on it.
- Apply a clean bandage when it gets wet or
soiled. If a bandage is stuck to a scab, soak it in warm water to soften the
scab and make the bandage easier to remove.
- If available, use a
nonstick dressing. There are many bandage products available.
sure to read the product label for correct use.
- Use of an antibiotic ointment has not been shown
to affect healing. If you choose to use an antibiotic ointment, such as
polymyxin B sulfate (for example, Polysporin) or bacitracin, apply the ointment
lightly to the wound. The ointment will keep the bandage from sticking to the
wound. If a skin rash or itching under the bandage develops, stop using the
ointment. The rash may be caused by an allergic reaction to the
- Determine whether you need a
ice or cold pack may help reduce swelling and bruising. Never apply ice
directly to a wound or the skin. This could cause tissue damage.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
| Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
Do not use a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug, such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, or aspirin.
| Be sure to follow
these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
- Carefully read and follow all
directions on the medicine bottle and box.
- Do not take more than
the recommended dose.
- Do not take a medicine if you have had an
allergic reaction to it in the past.
you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take
- If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other
than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.