How to handle snake bites

By October 7, 2015Blog

Man getting bit in the face by a snakeSnakes are warm weather creatures, which means that here in the South, we can see them all year long. In Mississippi, there are over 40 species of snakes, a small number of which are poisonous. The types of venomous snakes that are most common in the United States are the rattlesnake, coral snake, water moccasin, and copperhead. While snake bites in general are pretty rare and most snake bites are not poisonous, it’s best to be prepared in the event you are bitten.

Snake Bite Anatomy 

When you’re bitten, the snake may or may not inject venom into you. Venom is the main concern, as it’s comprised of proteins that can affect the human body system-wide and in far-reaching ways. You will likely feel pain in the area of the bite and may experience other symptoms such as fever, swelling, or vomiting. If the snake has injected venom, it will soon begin to spread to other organs and areas of your body, making it critical to seek medical attention right after your bite.

What to Do After a Snake Bite

First of all, know that most of the remedies you’ve seen on TV or in movies are just plain wrong. Don’t try to cut your bite to drain it, apply ice, suck the venom out with your mouth, or make a tourniquet. What you should do is immediately get away from the snake to avoid further damage and call 911. Remove any clothing or accessories that may restrict the area near the bite. You need to see a medical professional as soon as possible; if you were bitten by a venomous snake, you’ll need to start receiving doses of anti-venom to counteract the effects of venom in your body. It will help your doctor if you can remember what the snake looked like. Above all, try to remain calm – physical exertion or increased heart rate will speed up the effects of the venom.

How to Avoid Snake Bites

Your first line of defense against snakes is to avoid them! Be very cautious in areas that are known to have snakes. Wear protective clothing and walk with caution in such areas. If you plan to be outdoors a lot, it’s beneficial to have a working knowledge of what snakes are indigenous to that area and which ones are poisonous. If you do see a snake, do your best to avoid it and not disturb it. Most snakes will not attack unless they’re provoked.

All in all, if you’re bitten by a snake, your prognosis is good. Take the proper steps to prevent snake bites and remember the doctors at or Mississippi Urgent Care locations are always on-call for any questions or concerns you may have. We’re well-versed in what snakes live in our area and how to treat snake bites if you find yourself in this rare situation.