Snake bites are rather serious and life-threatening conditions in case the snake is poisonous. The death may occur within hours and prompt action has to be taken to prevent possible lethal outcome and permanent damage to the tissue surrounding the bite. It has been estimated that around 6000 people in the Unites States are bitten per year. The situation requires from the person to stay calm and not to panic.
Even in case a person is bitten by non-venomous snake there can be certain complications such as infection of the wound. In case that after the attack the snake stays attached to the skin one should plunge snake's head into the water (if possible) or apply diluted listerine (if at hand).
In case of venomous snake bite one should pursue certain actions. The casualty should call for help instantly. It is not recommendable for one to run as this may only lead to faster distribution of the venom within the blood stream and to organs. The casualty has to stay as still as he/ she may be. The person who has been bitten is not supposed to try to catch the snake as the time runs out and the doctor will possibly be able to identify the snake according to the puncture wound.
The area of the bite needs to be below the level of the heart so appropriate position should be taken. The bite may be washed with water and soap. One should never use cold water. In case that suction device is present it may be of assistance in suction of the venom. The venom must not be sucked and removed with the mouth and by cutting the area.
The edema can be reduced if warm compresses are placed onto the wound. One should take good care that circulation is not interrupted. All the jewelry need to be removed.
The person who has been bitten or others present at the place of accident must monitor the vital signs (heart beat and breathing). In case of cardiopulmonary arrest resuscitation has to be conducted immediately.
The casualty must not be given any kind of medication as some drugs may lead to vasodilatation which is the widening of the blood vessels and this can result in faster spread of the venom.
After the hospitalization and identification of the snake the patient is given antivenom. Even some supportive medications are administered if doctor decides they are necessary.
Fortunately not all the venomous snake bites end up with venom reaching into the blood stream. Sometimes the half of the dosage comes into the blood and there are even cases of so called dry bytes when the venom has not been injected at all. Still every attack of the poisonous snakes which ends up with a bite that has to be taken seriously and the one should act as suggested.