Survive a Snakebite

Posted On November 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm by / 1 Comment

Although snakebites are uncommon snakes are often present in wilderness situations or in areas where you have strayed from civilization. For a survivalist or outdoorsman the knowledge of what to do if a snake bites you can save a life. In this post we will discuss how to survive a snakebite. Snakes generally avoid man when possible but if approached unexpectedly can attack in attempts of self-defense. Some snakes, such as the king cobra, rattlesnake, and mamba have been known to aggressively attack man, but such cases are rare.

Determining if the Snakebite is Poisonous or Not

Before you treat a snakebite you must first evaluate whether the snake is poisonous or nonpoisonous. Nonpoisonous snakebites are indicated by rows of teeth. Poisonous snakebites may have rows of teeth as well but are evidenced by distinctive puncture marks made by the snake’s fangs. Regardless of whether the snake was poisonous or not the wound can become infected because of the bacteria in the animal’s mouth.

Poisonous Bite Symptoms

If bitten by a poisonous snake the following symptoms may occur:

  • Bleeding from the nose and anus spontaneously
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain and swelling at the site of the bite within a few minutes
  • Paralysis
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty breathing

Snakebite Treatment

In the event of a poisonous snakebite your ability to get medical attention and place yourself in a safe environment can greatly affect your chances of survival. People who fail to treat snakebites accordingly can end up with severe ailment which can lead to lack of mobility, loss of limbs and even death. Although death by snakebite is rare due to the low rates of systemic poisoning, getting bit by a snake during a survival situation can affect optimism.

Snakebites contain poisons that attack the central nervous system and blood circulation as well as digestive enzymes that aid in digesting their victims. These poisons are dangerous because they can cause a very large area of tissue death resulting in a very large open wound. These wounds can result in the need for amputation if not treated quickly.

When a victim has been bitten by a poisonous snake begin by reassuring them and keeping them still. Hysteria and panic can speed up the circulation of the poison and cause the body to absorb the toxins more quickly. Be prepared for the victim to go into shock and force fluids or give them an IV. After cleaning the bite area be prepared to administer CPR and employ the use of a constricting band between the wound and heart to prevent poison circulation. After immobilizing the site, remove the poison with a mechanical suction device or by squeezing. Use mouth suction only as a last resort and if you don’t have any open sores in your mouth.

One thought on “Survive a Snakebite

  1. would recommend folks serious about self care of poisonous bites and stings check out ascorbic acid (vit c) treatment as used by on animals in australia. It works incredibly well on a wide variety of poisons, is cheap, easy to carry and non toxic in large doses. suction kits aren’t reliable because the venom gets in the blood quickly. Activated charcoal poultice and ingestion will work very well too.

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