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How do I care for someone who has been bitten by a snake?

To care for a venomous snake bite:
  • Wash the wound.
  • Apply an elastic roller bandage to slow the spread of venom through the lymphatic system by following these steps:
    • Check for feeling, warmth, and color of the limb and note changes in skin color and temperature.
    • Place the end of the bandage against the skin and use overlapping turns.
    • The wrap should cover a long body section, such as an arm or a calf, beginning at the point farthest from the heart. For a joint, such as the knee or ankle, use figure-eight turns to support the joint.
    • Check above and below the injury for feeling, warmth, and color, especially fingers and toes, after you have applied an elastic roller bandage. By checking before and after bandaging, you may be able to tell if any tingling or numbness is from the elastic bandage or the injury.
    • Check the snugness of the bandaging -- a finger should easily, but not loosely, pass under the bandage. 
  • Keep the injured area still and lower than the heart. The person should walk only if absolutely necessary.
  • Do not apply ice.
  • Do not cut the wound.
  • Do not apply suction.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet.
  • Do not use electric shock, such as from a car battery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.