Snakebite: Teach Your Family First Aid

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Any and everyone reading this should first call their local hospital and ask if they are equipped to treat snakebites and, if not, where does one go for treatment. This is a lesson hard learned if you don’t know in advance. Every second counts when getting emergency treatment.

Snakebite First AidPhoto: Flickr/Taber Andrew Bain

Warmer weather means more outdoor activities. Gardening, hiking, fishing and camping are just a few of what we all enjoy doing. But, with the good comes some of the bad. Insects are more active, the weather is more violent, and then there are snakes. With that territory comes snakebite, so, teach your family first aid in case anyone is bitten.

Snake Bite First AidPhoto: Pixabay/Ana_M

There are 77 species of snakes in Texas with over half of them in Hill Country. Of that number, there are six deadly serpents.  Half of that number are varieties of rattlesnakes. The others are copperheads, cottonmouths, and the beautiful coral snake. All of them are pit vipers except the coral snake, which means that below each of their eyes is a hole that is a heat sensor for locating prey.

Snakebite First Aid


Snakebite First Aid

Flickr/Michael McCarthy

Most generally, if a rattlesnake is seen, what variety it is doesn’t matter. Just quietly move away from it. As with all wild animals, sudden movements create instant defensive reactions. So keep your calm. Most rattlesnakes can strike anywhere from one half to three quarters of their body length. Their venom is hemotoxic, which means it affects the tissue and blood vessels.

Snakebite First Aid
Facebook/Pat’s Pet Show

Physical reactions are almost immediate after being bitten, if the snake actually injects their venom. Poisonous snakes are stingy with their venom because they use it to acquire food. That is why you don’t always get envenomed. The pain is extreme, just like when a wasp stings you, only worse, a metal taste hits your mouth and dizziness with swelling in the effected body part. Your muscles begin to quiver and jerk and difficulty in breathing sets in rather quickly. These symptoms are identical for cottonmouths and copperheads.

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