First Aid for Snake Bites

Apart from the rattlesnake, coral snake, water moccasin and copperhead, most North American snakes are not poisonous.

Characteristics of NA poisonous snakes

Except for the coral snake, these poisonous snakes have slit-like eyes, triangular heads with a depression midway between the eyes and nostrils.

Each poisonous snake also possesses a certain characteristic that is unique to them:

The rattle snake makes its rattling sound by shaking the rings at the end of their tail.

Water moccasins on the other hand, have a white cottony lining in their mouth; while coral snakes have red, yellow and black rings along the length of their body.

How to reduce your risk of snakebite

To lower your risk of snakebite, do not pick up or play with any kind of snake. Most snakes avoid people, and bite only when threatened or surprised.

  • If you are bitten by a snake:
  • Remain calm
  • Do not attempt to catch the snake
  • Do not move the bitten arm or leg

Apply a loose splint to reduce movement of the affected area. Make sure it is loose enough to allow normal blood flow

  • Remain silent
  • Remove jewelry and other accessory, because swelling progresses quickly
  • Do not use a tourniquet or put ice
  • Do not cut the wound or try to remove the venom
  • Seek medical attention immediately, especially if the bitten area changes color, starts to swell or is painful.

Source: Mayo Clinic


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