Snake bites, am I right? Who wants them? At the worst, you face injury, sickness, or even possible death…and at best, you feel a lot of discomfort. Animal bites are annoying enough, but snake bites—and especially those that come from wild snakes, such as the kind you’d find when you’re out camping, trekking, or hiking—are the worst of all.
So, if do happen to get bit by a snake, what happens? Should you suck the poison out? The answer is NO! This is because the venom will spread too quickly throughout your system for it to be of any help. According to science, even applying a tourniquet or ice to the wound won’t be of any help. They might even be more likely to bring harm than yield benefits. Not only can they delay you from getting proper medical care, but they can also contaminate the injury, as well as create damage in blood vessels and nerves. Don’t do first aid, either, in part because it might delay how long it takes for you receive get medical care.
So, what should you do? Well, first—before you actually get bitten—learn the symptoms. Symptoms of snake-bite are swelling and pain in the area; afterward, there is nausea and throwing up, in addition to weakness. Signs like these are usually developed within half an hour to an hour, although there may also be a delay of several hours.
Also, you must stay calm. Have your friends get you out of the way, and call the appropriate authorities. I know, I know, it seems impossible to stay calm in situations like these, but frankly you won’t have a choice. Increasing your heart rate can increase how fast the venom moves in your veins.
If you get bitten by a snake, you have a great chance of surviving (if you don’t suck the poison out): many of the bites are “dry,” in that they don’t contain poison. More importantly, anti-venom is very effective. Some research shows that less than half of one percent of people die from pit viper bites in the US.
Before we close, here’s some more information. As per a study from The New England Journal of Medicine, 20 of the roughly 120 snakes that can be found in the US have poisonous bites. Most of the snakes live in the southwestern United States, but a poisonous snake species can be found in almost all of the states. Some of the more poisonous types of snakes include pit vipers, which is the category that brings together cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, and copperheads.
So now, to sum up what we’ve learned so far, snake bites are serious business. Don’t suck the poison out; instead, call the authorities as quickly as possible. Have your coordinates on hand (your phone or a handheld GPS might be very helpful—if not downright life-saving—in this regard). And finally, remember: the most important fact of all is to be prepared. Stay on your guard—and stay safe!