Snakebites can be lethal if they're not treated promptly. Administering the proper anti-venom can save the victim's life, so it's vital to get to the closest hospital emergency room as quickly as possible [source: Medline Plus].
Here's how to treat a snakebite:
- Keep the victim calm.
- Restrict movement of the affected area (use a loose splint if possible), and keep the area below heart level [source: Medline Plus].
- Wash the bite with soap and water [source: UMMC].
- Draw the venom out of the wound using a pump suction device, if available. Follow the device's instructions.
- Remove all constricting items, such as rings, in case the area swells. If the area becomes swollen or discolored, the snake was probably poisonous.
- Monitor the victim's blood pressure, temperature, breathing rate and pulse, to the best of your ability.
- Watch for signs of shock. If they appear, lay the victim on a flat surface with his legs raised about a foot (30.5 centimeters), and cover him with a blanket [source: Medline Plus].
- Get medical help or transport the victim to a hospital as fast as possible. If no medical care will be available for at least 30 minutes, wrap a bandage 2 to 4 inches (50.2 to 101.6 millimeters) above the wound, making sure it's loose enough to slip your finger beneath it [source: UMMC].
Caution:Do not do the following:
- Let the victim overexert himself (if necessary, carry the victim)
- Use a tourniquet
- Apply a cold compress
- Cut a snakebite with a knife or razor
- Suck out the venom by mouth
- Administer stimulants or painkillers except under the direction of a doctor
- Give the victim anything orally
- Raise the area of the bite area above heart level [source: Medline Plus]