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What Can One Do If They Are Bitten By A Snake?

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

The very mention of snakes or snakebites has the power to evoke irrational fear in one’s mind. We don’t blame them- snake bites invoke fear and the slithery, venomous creatures have a reputation that precedes them. However, what we fail to understand is that a snake also fears humans, just like how dogs and other stray animals may attack out of fear.

Animals are wary of human beings and when we tend to act jittery or tensed around, we transfer our fears onto them and this is what makes them attack us. E.g. dogs bite when they are provoked. However, one must have right know-how when it comes to dealing with snake bites. Read the critical protocol for dealing with snake bites here:


To begin with, there are approximately 3000 species of snakes in the world and of these, only 400 are poisonous. Further, not all these 400 snakes can cause a fatality when they bite someone. What one must remember is that various factors influence the seriousness of snake bites.

It is important not incise the wound or attempt to suck the venom out by mouth or with commercial suction devices. Avoid applying ice to the wound or tying the limb above the bite. Please present to nearest emergency, if possible try to take a photo of snake.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

A snake bite depends on:

  • A victim’s age, health conditions, size and of course, state of mind
  • The nature of the snakebite, i.e. has the bite caused penetration of both fangs or only one
  • The location of the snake bite
  • The proximity of the bite to the major blood vessels in the body
  • The amount of venom injected into the body

An important thing to note is that each snake bite is unique. In fact, if a highly poisonous snake bites a person, they may be unscathed but even a mildly poisonous snake’s bite can kill someone.

First Aid for dealing with snake bites:

  • Medical help is a must- one should seek a doctor ASAP
  • Movement should be minimum
  • Discard any rings, watches, bracelets, etc. if bitten on the hand
  • Loosen tight clothes in case of swelling
  • Apply a pressure bandage to the bite
  • Apply firm pressure to the bite, taking care that the chest movement isn’t restricted or the breathing isn’t affected
  • Use a sling or splint to limit the movement of the affected limb
  • With a pen or a marker, trace the swelled region and keep a check to see if there is an increase in the swelling or not
  • Keep the affected area lower than the heart level

Children are at higher risk of severe effects due to lower body mass than adults. Most deaths and serious consequences from snake bites are entirely preventable by making safe and effective antivenoms more widely available and accessible, particularly in high-risk areas.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Please avoid the following in case of snake bites:

  1. No aspirin or any other pain relievers are consumed.
  2. Tourniquets aren’t used. It will ultimately block the blood flow and may cause loss of the affected limb.
  3. The venom is tried to be sucked out or the bite isn’t cut into with a knife. This only worsens the wound.
  4. The snake bite area isn’t washed or cleaned. The venom’s traces that are left of the skin of the person or on the bandage then can be used as a sample to check the species of the snake. Through this trace then one can determine the anti-venom that needs to be administered.

Wonder what you’d have to do in case of a bone fracture? Read on to find out.

Disclaimer:  The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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