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.
Thus, this is one statistic you can use to try to remain calm. The bite victim needs to be taken to get urgent medical care regardless.
In the meantime, here are a couple of important DON’Ts…
Photo: Virginia State Parks, Flickr