Snake bite wounds can be painful and problematic, as a single bite may have gruesome consequences. But with the right care and treatment, snake bites can be dealt with effectively, allowing you to return to your normal life without any lasting damage. While some only cause some swelling, those are dry bites. Others can be deadly if not treated properly. So, if you find yourself on the receiving end of a snake’s fangs, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention ASAP.
Here we will take a look at how best to deal with Snake bite wounds, what treatment is recommended, and how you should provide care for it.
What are snake bites?
All snake bites are created equal. The type of bite varies greatly with so many different species of snakes, including venomous and non-venomous. Depending on the snake, you could deal with cytotoxins causing swelling, tissue damage, and hemorrhaging, disrupting blood vessels. Some major categories are anti-clotting agents preventing blood clotting, neurotoxins causing nervous system damage, or myotoxins breaking down muscles.
After identifying the snake that bit you, you can receive the appropriate treatment.
How dangerous are snake bites?
There are two types of snake bites. Such as dry bites and venomous bites.
Dry bites are harmless, happening when a snake releases no venom.
However, venomous bites are a whole different story. These dangerous bites happen when a snake transmits venom into your bloodstream through their bite.
Some venomous snake bites, like the king cobra, can even control the amount of venom they emit. Shockingly, around 50-70% of venomous bites lead to serious envenoming or poisoning. So if you ever get bit by a snake, even if you think it’s non-venomous, it’s always best to treat it as a medical snakebite emergency. Delaying on Snake bite wounds treatment for a venomous bite could result in serious injury or death.
Who is most vulnerable to getting bitten by a snake?
95% of snake bites occur in developing countries. Those living in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa are particularly at risk, with poor access to healthcare and antivenoms. But it’s not just the location that puts you in danger. Certain professions, such as agricultural workers, herders, fishermen, and hunters, are also more susceptible to Snake bite wounds. In North America, most snakes aren’t venomous, but if you come across a rattlesnake, water moccasin, coral snake, or copperhead snake, be extra cautious.
Snake bite symptoms:
When a snake bites you, the symptoms can vary depending on the type of bite. If it’s a dry bite, you may experience swelling and redness around the wound. However, if it’s a venomous bite, you’re in for much more.
- You’ll notice puncture marks or indiscernible marks on your skin, followed by a sharp, throbbing, burning pain that may take a while to kick in.
- The pain may spread throughout the affected limb, causing discomfort in unexpected places, like the groin or armpit. You may also experience redness, swelling, or tissue damage near the bite.
- Blood that won’t clot, bleeding that won’t stop.
- Your heart is racing, and your pulse is weaker by the minute with low blood pressure.
- Nausea, vomiting, anxiety, headaches, and blurred vision overtake your body.
- Breathing becomes difficult, and in the worst-case scenario, you lose your ability to breathe. Sweating uncontrollably, your muscles feel weak, and your face and limbs numb.
An allergic reaction is triggered, and it’s anaphylactic shock at its finest. Your throat tightens to the point of speech becoming impossible, and your tongue swells like a balloon. Pale children surround you, and you can’t stop coughing or wheezing.
Two major groups are there, which are categorized under venomous snakes.
Elapids or cobra family:
The Elapidae family includes some of the most lethal snakes in the world. Over 300 venomous species range from kraits and mambas to coral snakes and sea snakes. When it comes to attacking their prey or potential threats, these snakes strike downward with their short fangs. Then follow up with a lethal combination of neurotoxins and bodily harm. If you happen to get bitten by a cobra, the results could be fatal, with paralysis of the heart and lungs setting in mere moments after the bite.
Some of the deadliest snakes on earth are vipers. These slithering creatures represent over 200 species, ranging from the notorious pit vipers, such as rattlesnakes and copperheads, to the mysterious Old-World vipers like adders. Their long, hollow fangs are attached to moveable bones in their upper jaw. These make Vipers formidable predators. They can fold those terrifying fangs back into their mouths when they’re not hunting.
Snake bite first aid –
- The first and most important snakebite first aid is to take snakebite emergency medical attention.
- If a snake bites you, it’s crucial to immediately call 911 or emergency services. Even if it doesn’t hurt too much at first, this situation could be life-threatening. Identifying the snake can help with snakebite treatment, but it’s tough to do, so focus on taking these steps.
- Take off any jewelry or watches to prevent them from digging into your skin when swelling occurs.
- Keep the bite area below your heart to slow down the venom’s spread.
- Stay calm and avoid moving around too much so the venom doesn’t spread through your body too fast.
- First, cover up the bite with a clean and dry bandage to deal with a snakebite. If possible, use a pressure immobilization bandage to prevent the venom from spreading. Wrap another bandage around the entire limb to keep it still.
While these steps are helpful, the most essential treatment is antivenom. To ensure the victim receives the appropriate antivenom, it’s beneficial to identify the snake’s size, color, and shape for the doctor.
How to prevent a snake bite?
To make yourself safe from snakebites, remember these tips.
- Always watch where you’re putting your hands and feet. Even if it means taking a few extra seconds to double-check before reaching into unknown spaces.
- Avoid lounging or sitting down in areas where a snake could be lurking.
- Protect yourself with high-top leather boots if you’re wandering through dense vegetation.
- Never attempt to handle or capture venomous snakes.
- Be extra cautious around swamps and other snake-friendly spaces when camping or exploring.
- Refrain from touching a snake if you think you’ll encounter one.
Note from KBK Hospitals:
Snakebite wounds can be very dangerous and need to be taken seriously if you encounter them. To ensure a successful recovery from a snake bite, getting treatment as soon as possible is important to avoid worsening the condition. KBK Multispeciality hospital offers pain-free therapy, which can provide great results for treating snake bite wounds. With expert medical care by experienced professionals in this field, you can rest assured that we have your best interests at heart. We highly recommend consulting with us should you ever experience a snakebite wound so that we can provide the best outcome possible!
1. What is the best way to treat a snake bite?
The best way to treat a snake bite is to immediately seek medical attention. If you are in a remote location with no medical facility, move away from the snake first to avoid being bitten again. Next, clean the wound with soap and water to keep the affected area below heart level. Avoid using a tourniquet or sucking out the venom. Instead, cover the wound with a clean, dry dressing and immobilize the affected limb using a splint or sling.
2. How long does it take for snake bites to heal?
The speed of the healing process of snake bites varies depending on the type of snake bite and how quickly it is treated. Some bites may require antivenom, which can speed up the healing process. Others may only require pain medication and rest. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for a snake bite to heal fully.
3. Is snakebite curable?
The curable of a snake bite depends on the snake species, the venom’s potency, and how quickly the bite recipient can receive medical attention. While some snake bites can be fatal, many are treatable with antivenom therapy. The key to recovery is seeking proper medical care immediately after being bitten. Neglecting prompt treatment can harm one’s health, as the venom can spread and cause serious damage to organs and tissues.
4. What to eat after snake bite treatment?
After receiving treatment for a snake bite, staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water is important. That help to flush out any toxins remaining in the body. Additionally, foods high in protein and antioxidants can aid in repairing damaged tissues and boosting the immune system. Some examples include eggs, lean meats, nuts, and berries.
5. Can snake bites get infected?
One of the snakebite complications is infection. A snake bite wound is an entryway for bacteria and can quickly become infected if not properly treated. The severity of the infection depends on the type of snake and the bacteria present. It’s vital to clean the wound immediately, remove any debris or dirt, and cover it with a clean, dry dressing.