Poisonings & Snake Bite & Medical Emergencies

Snake bites should always be taken seriously. Though some are dry bites, which aren't as dangerous and will likely cause some swelling, others are venomous bites, which, if not treated carefully and quickly, can result in death. Always seek immediate medical attention if you've been bitten by a snake, as it could be a matter of life and death.

Are snake bites dangerous?

The answer might seem obvious, but there are two different types of snake bites. And one is more serious than the other:

  • Dry bites: These occur when a snake doesn’t release any venom with its bite. As you’d expect, these are mostly seen with non-venomous snakes.
  • Venomous bites: These are much more dangerous. They occur when a snake transmits venom during a bite.

Poisonous snakes voluntarily emit venom when they bite. They can control the amount of venom they discharge, and 50 to 70% of venomous snake bites result in envenoming or poisoning. Even with a less serious type of bite, every snake bite should be treated as a medical emergency — unless you’re absolutely sure that the bite came from a non-venomous snake. Any delay in treatment following a venomous snake bite could result in serious injury or, in the worst-case scenario, death.

A snake bite can cause people to panic and act irrationally. Even so, there are certain things you should avoid doing immediately following a snake bite, including:

  • Don’t pick up the snake or try to wrap it up or kill it, as this will increase your chance of getting bitten again. Even dead snakes can bite.
  • Don’t apply a tourniquet.
  • Don’t cut into the wound at all.
  • Don’t try to suck out the venom.
  • Don’t apply ice or use water to submerge the wound.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Don’t drink beverages with caffeine.
  • Don’t take any pain-relieving medication.
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