ID The Snake if Possible (Safely)
The first step you should take is to get the bite victim to safety, i.e. away from the snake that bit them, while avoiding getting bit yourself.
While snakes don’t typically bite humans, a frightened snake might. Given the fact that this snake just bit your friend (or you), it’s clearly feeling threatened.
If possible, take not of the snake’s appearance and coloration. This will help the medical staff determine the best treatment options.
Even if all signs point to a venomous snake that committed the offense, it’s important to take into account that roughly 20% of venomous snake bites are “dry.”
Venomous snakes do have some control over how much venom they inject, using their venom primarily to immobilize prey. A human is too large to be viewed as prey by a copperhead or rattlesnake, so injecting venom is a costly waste for the snake.
Maybe this information helps you stay calm, maybe not. The bite victim needs to be taken to get urgent medical care regardless.
In the meantime, it’s time to take on some time honored folklore…
Dear reader, this part tends to be where some folks get their undies in a bunch. People, particularly the bold personalities that like to read PatriotCaller.com, don’t like to feel powerless in the face of any challenge. They want to regain some semblance of control over a situation.
And while this “take charge” attitude serves us well 99% of the time, venomous snake bites fall within that 1% where taking action is more likely to do harm than good. Over time, some very strange “cures” for snake bites have made the rounds.
But guess what? They’re total BS!
If you think hooking up a 12V battery to a rattlesnake bite is going to instantly cure the patient, or any other such “remedy,” you might have another think coming.
The effect, if any at all, will likely be harmful to the victim. The most courageous thing you can do is to face the facts. This is a dangerous situation and there is no magic bullet. Caring for the victim and getting the antivenin are the 2 key priorities.
On that note, here are some very important DON’Ts…
Photo: Virginia State Parks, Flickr