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First aid for snakebites

From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

If a snake bites you, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately, then take these first-aid steps.

Most snakes aren't dangerous to humans. Only about 15% worldwide and 20% in the United States are venomous. In North America, these include the rattlesnake, coral snake, water moccasin and copperhead. Their bites can cause severe injuries and sometimes death.

If a venomous snake bites you, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately, especially if the bitten area changes color, begins to swell or is painful. Many emergency rooms stock antivenom drugs, which may help you.

If possible, take these steps while waiting for medical help:

Move beyond the snake's striking distance.

Remain still and calm to help slow the spread of venom.

 

Remove jewelry and tight clothing before you start to swell.

Position yourself, if possible, so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart.

Clean the wound with soap and water. Cover it with a clean, dry dressing.

Caution

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