- Preventing systemic absorption of the toxin which may be done with compressive dressings and immobilization of the bitten extremity.
- If signs of envenomation begin to occur, a constriction band to impede lymphatic flow should be placed on the extremity, proximal to the bite. Transport to a hospital should take place immediately.
- The site should be wiped off and cleaned. The use of field first-aid methods such as incision and suction, tourniquets, and cryotherapy has been associated with a threefold increase in the likelihood of the need for surgical intervention.
- Although popular belief has it that snakebites kill within minutes, in fact, the toxicity from snake venom usually does not even begin to affect the body for several hours. In one review, 64% of deaths from snakebite occurred between 6 and 48 hours after the patient was bitten.
I have never in my years of practice had to deal with a snake bite, but have a healthy fear of cotton mouths and copper heads. I know that snakes may be an important part of our environment, but I still don't like snakes.
Have a safe summer enjoying the outdoors!