Spring will soon be here, in the South, it has already started. With the onset of the Spring season, snakes begin to emerge from their winter hybrination looking for food and to mate. This makes them extremely agressive and a serious threat to us and our pets so pay clost attention to the contents of this post. Make a copy and keep it in the car. Why the car? Because there are not many places that you go that your car is not very far away.
Mother Nature’s family is very large and like any large family there are good kids and a few bad ones. Some of those bad kids have the potential to inflict a lot of pain and suffering on their victims. Some of the bad kids I’m referring to are poisonous snakes. There are four types of poisonous snakes located in The United States, rattlesnakes, copperheads, coral, and water moccasins. Each year over 7000 people are bitten by snakes. Most of those bites occur in the late spring, summer, and early fall seasons. Snakes hibernate in the late fall, winter, and early spring seasons.
There are, I might add, many more non-poisonous snakes than there are poisonous snakes. At a quick glance you can identify a poisonous snake by it’s triangular shaped head. The poison sacks are located on either side of the head causing those areas to protrude. The coral snake, however, does not have a triangular head but can be identified by continuous brightly colored bands around it’s body. All snake bites should be taken serious, even bites from a non-venomous snake can cause a serious infection. The intensity of snake venom varies, but all can kill local tissue and release harmful toxins into the bloodstream causing extreme pain, blood pressure problems, and heart problems. And that’s not all. A poisonous snake bite victim may exhibit a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Some of these symptoms may include racing pulse, extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and shortness of breath. In extreme cases, paralysis, loss of consciousness, even death may occur.
If you are bitten by any type of snake, call an ambulance immediately. If no ambulance is available, get to a hospital as quickly as possible. Driving yourself to the hospital is not advisable unless there is no other person available to assist you. If possible, kill the snake and take it with you to the hospital. Snake bite medication is snake specific so, for example, a rattle snake bite medication will not work on a coral snake bite. If you are unable to kill the snake, use your cell phone camera to photograph it.
If you are far from medical help and you or a companion are bitten by a poisonous snake what should you do ? First of all you get out your snake bite kit and those herbal supplements you purchased the same day you purchased the snake bite kit. The snake bite kit included a tourniquet, razor blades, and a suction cup. The supplements included Cayenne Drops, Echinacea Extract Drops and a large bottle of 1000mg Vitamin C capsules.
First of all, wash the bite area with soap and water and Do Not attempt to sterilize the bite area with alcohol. That will increase the spread of the venom. If rapid swelling occurs and the victim is in extreme pain sterilize a razor blade and make an incision just below the fang marks. Do not cut deep, only 1/8 inch. Make sure the direction of the incision is parallel to the length of the limb. Two incisions may be required. Apply suction with a suction cup. If no suction cup is available, apply suction with your mouth. Spit out the poisoned blood and rinse your mouth after each cycle. Perform this procedure only if the bite has occurred no more than five minutes previous. Never perform this procedure on a coral snake bite victim.
Caution: Never perform oral suction if you have recently flossed or brushed your teeth to the point of gum bleeding, even slightly.
If you fear the victim may go into cardiac arrest, give the victim 8-10 drops of Cayenne Extract in warm water. This could possibly save the person’s life by preventing shock and helping strengthen the heart. Large doses of Vitamin C may also prevent shock and convulsions. Echinacea Extract Drops under the tongue or in warm water can flush some of the poison from the lymph glands.
Try not to panic because that will cause the heart to beat faster causing the poison to spread faster. Try to keep the bite area below the level of the heart. If possible, apply a splint to the affected limb to immobilize it. This helps prevent muscle spasms from causing the poison to spread faster. Do not apply an ice pack to the bite area. This can cause additional tissue damage similar to freezer burn.
These actions have bought you some valuable time, they are not a cure. Use that time to get the victim to a medical facility. If for some reason you are unable to apply any of the measures listed above, don’t give up. Apply the method used by the Native American Indians and the mountain men back in the old days. The procedure simply involved applying a mixture of saliva and tobacco to the bite area. If you don’t smoke, and I hope you don’t, it may be a good idea to carry a few old cigarette butts in your snakebite kit.
Get help as soon as you can, time is not on your side.