Snake Bite Management: First Aid, and Prevention Tips

Did you know that the majority of snake bites are not venomous, but because patients go into a state of panic they put themselves at risk of severe danger? Here are some good tips about snake bite management.

Panicking increases blood circulation

It is important to remain calm. Panicking also increases blood circulation which could be detrimental.

Although research shows that a small percentage of bites are from venomous snakes, snake fangs are not sterile and therefore the puncture wounds can easily be infected. “This could lead to most commonly a condition called cellulitis. This is an infection of the tissue under the skin and depending on the bacteria involved, it can be serious and life-threatening.

Bites from potentially lethal snakes could cause traumatic injuries through tissue destruction or neurological problems. Smaller snakes, like Burrowing Asps, can cause swelling, pain, and tissue death (necrosis). Snake venom can kill by either causing the muscles to stop functioning which causes paralysis and suffocation. It can possibly cause the body to go into shock and the organs to shut down. It can also in some cases cause you to bleed uncontrollably which will cause your death.

Signs of Poisonous Snakebites

If someone has been bitten by a snake, you can sometimes identify the snake by its color or bite mark. But if you are not sure, assume that the snake is poisonous.

Here are the signs and symptoms if someone gets bitten by a snake:

  • Pain in the bite area that keeps getting worse.
  • Bleeding and swelling of the bite area.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Weakness, shortness of breath.
  • Signs of shock.
  • Seizure
  • Loss of consciousness.
Risk of Snakebites

NOTE: Snake venom can kill by either causing the muscles to stop functioning, which causes paralysis and suffocation (asphyxia), or by causing you to bleed uncontrollably (hemorrhage). In both situations, it may cause the body to go into shock and the organs to shut down.

Actions to Take for a Snakebite

Follow these first aid action steps for a person with ab snakebite:

  1. Make sure the scene is safe: Before approaching the victim, assess the scene for any potential hazards to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Ask another adult to move any other people away from the area.
  2. Ask permission to help: Obtain the person's consent before to help.
  3. Reassure the person: Ask the injured person to stay as still and calm as possible and avoid moving the part of the body that was bitten.
  4. Call emergency medical services (EMS): Immediately call your local emergency number and ask someone to get the first aid kit and AED, if available.
  5. Put on gloves and personal protective equipment (PPE): Protect yourself by wearing gloves and any other necessary PPE to prevent exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
  6. Assess the injury: Evaluate the bite and the surrounding area for signs of swelling, redness, or puncture wounds.
  7. Remove any tight clothing and jewelry: Loosen or remove any tight clothing or jewelry near the bite site.
  8. Cover the Wound: Cover the wound with a clean, sterile bandage or dressing to protect it from further contamination.
  9. Apply a compression bandage: Wrap a compression bandage around the entire affected limb.
  10. Immobilized the limb: Apply a splint to support the entire afftected limb.
  11. Maintain body temperature: Check for signs of shock and cover the person with a blanket to keep them warm.
  12. Check for other injuries: Check for other potential injuries on the person's body and give first aid if necessary.
  13. Monitor and stay with the person: 
    1. Keep the person still and calm until someone with more advanced training arrives and takes over.
    2. Try to keep the bitten area lower than the heart.
    3. If the person becomes unresponsive but is breathing normally, place them in the recovery position.
    4. If the person is not breathing normally, give CPR.
Actions to Take for a Snakebite

NOTE: Be very careful around any snake, even if it's wounded. Back away and go around the snake. If the snake has been killed or hurt, don't handle it. A snake can bite even when severely hurt or close to death.


There are myths surrounding snakebite management, and it's crucial to avoid certain actions.

  1. 🚫 Do not cut the wound or try to suck out the venom.
  2. 🚫 Do not use home remedies or ointments.
  3. 🚫 Do not use ice or heat packs.
  4. 🚫 No electrical shocks should be used.
  5. 🚫 Alcohol and aspirin should be avoided.
  6. 🚫 Do not apply a tourniquet.
  7. 🚫 Do not clean the wound, as it may spread venom, cause tissue damage and be more difficult for medical professionals to identify the venom.

NOTE: Applying a tourniquet may concentrate venom in the affected limb, increasing the local toxicity and potential for tissue damage. Tourniquets can also make treatment at the hospital more complicated.


Understanding the proper steps to take in the event of a snakebite can make a significant difference in the outcome for the victim. Although many snakebites are not venomous, the fear and panic that often follow can exacerbate the situation, potentially leading to severe complications. It is crucial to stay calm and follow the recommended first aid procedures, ensuring the victim receives prompt medical attention. Avoiding common myths and incorrect treatments is essential to prevent further harm. By being prepared and knowledgeable, you can effectively manage snakebite incidents and help save lives.

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