IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING A SNAKE
Try to safely and quickly identify the
species of snake if practical. Move victim to safety.
Have one person take firm command of the situation very
early to improve the coordination and decision making
processes. The victim's condition is assisted with an
observation that calm and competent assistance is being
firmly applied. There will be no time for shy or timid
behavior! Action will be crucial! Proceed with no delay
to use judgment calls on all of the below suggested
Remove any jewelry or tight fitting
clothing. Quickly tie a light restricting band both above
and below the bite area a few inches away from the
Without cutting, apply strong suction,
preferably within seconds of the bite directly on the
main or deepest puncture/bite marks. This can be
accomplished with the mouth or a commercial bite kit
suction device. Time is critical here as any venom
present will become destructive very quickly!
Rapidly apply antiseptic cleanser to
the entire area and place cold compress as closely as
possible without interfering with suction process.
Continue strong suction and alternate
the location of compress to avoid injury from severe
Check constriction bands periodically
as swelling may occur and loosen as appropriate.
Monitor for symptoms of shock and be
prepared to administer appropriate treatment. At any
signs of major stress or unusual/unexplained discomfort,
check for need to apply other first aid techniques -
elevate bitten extremity, elevate legs from lying down
position, keep warm, immobilize, etc. Do not administer
alcohol or cause additional stress to victim. Avoid food
or liquid intake.
Keep victim warm and immobilize as
practical. Movement to proper treatment facility is more
crucial than maintaining immobile status. Maintain above
treatment functions throughout.
Transport safely at the earliest
possible time to competent medical service. Ideally, all
of the above steps can be administered concurrently with
transport phase. Keep victim as comfortable as possible
and reassure that survival is not in question. Rapid
response reduces damage levels.
If possible and voluntarily chosen,
administer electroshock to bite area in several one
second bursts in a small circle around bite. Repeat this
at 10-15 minute intervals getting slightly farther from
bite area seeking to follow course of venom flow. Take
care to utilize DC current at proper levels and prepare
in advance to administer this technique.
If practical, dispatch snake and take
along for any identification or testing needs. The
primary purpose of this first aid is to slow down or
reduce the invasion of the venom, to protect the victim
from further side effect trauma, to prepare the victim
for later medical procedures such that complications may
be minimized, and generally to get the victim to such
treatment as quickly and safely as practical.
Stand by for back up assistance or
side task assignments like contacting relatives,
protecting scene materials, providing useful information
of incident facts, describe first aid administered, etc.
Be confident that all which could have
been done was applied to assure as successful an outcome
as possible given that a venomous bite is difficult to
control or establish a completely accurate prognosis.
Remember, early treatment is better treatment when such a
Contact us at:
Brazos River Rattlesnake
POB 1655 D
Weatherford, Texas 76086
|Authored by CONCISE COMMUNICATIONS. This page last updated on 05/10/97.
Copyright © 1997 CONCISE COMMUNICATIONS & TNE, Inc.
All rights reserved.
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