How to respond in aftermath of a snake bite

Spring is in full swing, which means more opportunities to go hiking or camping with family and friends.

However, warmer weather also brings snakes out of hiding, and it’s important to know how to safely take action in the event someone is bitten.

Dr. Spencer Greene, director of medical toxicology and assistant professor of emergency medicine-pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, offers the following tips on how to respond and avoid unsafe practices in the immediate aftermath of a snake bite.

Snake Bite Safety.  Dr. Spencer Greene shares advice about what to do and what not to do following a snake bite.  Good Idea.  Ensure everyone’s safety by getting away from the snake. Photograph the snake, but only if you can do so quickly and safely. Remove constrictive clothing and jewelry. Ensure adequate airway and breathing. Maintain perfusion, or blood flow, around the affected area. Provide appropriate painkillers. Transport the patient to the most appropriate facility.  Bad Idea. Cutting the area around the snake bite. Attempting to suck the venom out. Removing the tissue around the snake bite. Using electric shock as treatment. Freezing the area around the snake bite Using tourniquets, constriction bands and pressure immobilization. Venom extraction devices.

Want to learn more about snakes and emerging therapies for terrestrial and aquatic envenomation? Check out the 6th Annual Houston Venom Conference on April 11.

Additional Resources

Myths and facts about bites and stings

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-By Nicole Blanton and Andy Phifer

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