Snake bites are serious. If not treated quickly, the victim can experience extreme reaction to venom and in a matter of minutes, the result can be fatal.
Since the majority of snake bites occur in a remote area, emergency medical help is difficult to acquire. Thus it is important that there is a person in your group with proper first aid training in order to administer temporary treatment to the victim.
What to do in case of a snake bite:
• Snakes only attack if under treat, so the cases of snake bites can be attributed to people who get very near to the location of the snake or where snakes live.
Thus, the very first thing you should do to the victim is to move him to a safe place. Once the victim is on a safe location, keep him still and administer the first aid.
• If possible, try to identify the species of snake that caused the bite. Take a picture or have a visual memory of the snake if you cannot name the specie. This is very important since there are a lot of venomous snakes in America and the anti-venom that should be given must be compatible with the snake that bit the victim.
• If you were not able to identify the snake, at least, pinpoint the exact location of where the incident happened. Location gives clues to the type of snake that lives in the area.
• Remove any tight fitting clothing, a rope, lace or jewelry and use it to tie a light restricting bond inches away on both sides of the area that is bitten. Timing is crucial. So if the victim cries for help, do this procedure in the quickest possible time.
• Ask someone to call for help. Remember that first aid treatment only aims to prevent, reduce, or slow down the effects of the venom, minimize the complications of the venom and ready the victim for professional medical treatment. Call 911 right away.
• Do not cut into the wound as it can only create infections.
• Apply a strong suction with the mouth or using bite kit suction device if available. Do this continuously on the deepest puncture marks, within seconds of the bite.
• Clean the entire area with soap and warm water. Use antiseptic cleanser if available.
• Do not feed the victim nor give him something to drink. Alcohol should not be given to the victim as it can add to the stress level.
• Keep the victim warm and immobilized.
• Check the bonds regularly. If swelling occurs, loosen as necessary.
• Check for the signs of shock. If there are signs of unusual discomfort or major stress, assess if the victim requires other first aid techniques. Keep the bite away from the heart.
• Keep doing the above procedures until help arrives.
• Transporting the victim to the hospital is crucial. Make sure that he stays warm, immobilized and as comfortable as possible.
• Give words of reassurance that everything will going to be okay and survival is out of the question.
• Be ready to provide assistance. Contact the relatives of the victim, give useful information about the incident, protect the scene material and describe the first aid administered.
In some cases, professional help takes a while to arrive so make sure that you keep your focus, stay calm and coordinate with the people around as first aid training is useless if you are not able to stay on top of the whole situation.