First Aid For Snake Bites
1. THE DEFINITIVE TREATMENT OF A POISONOUS-SNAKE BITE VICTIM CAN ONLY BE PROVIDED BY A
PHYSICIAN IN A HOSPITAL.
The first priority of care to a snakebite victim is to arrange transportation to an appropriate physician/hospital.
2. While waiting for and during transportation:
a. Calm the patient.
b. Have the patient lie flat, face up, and explain that remaining quiet will slow the spread of any venom through the
c. Locate the bite area and clean it gently with soap and water.
d. Do not apply ice.
e. If the bite occurred on an arm or leg, splint the extremity to decrease movement.
f. Be alert for vomiting, which may be a sign of anxiety rather than the toxin itself.
g. Do not give anything by mouth.
h. If the patient was bitten on the trunk, keep the patient supine and quiet and transport as quickly as possible.
i. Monitor vital signs and mark the skin with a pen over the area that is swollen.
j. If there are any signs of shock, treat the patient for shock.
k. Only if the snake has been killed, bring it with you to the hospital.
l. Notify the hospital; if possible, describe the snake.
m. Transport promptly.
n. If the patient shows no signs of envenomation, provide basic life support (BLS) as needed, place a sterile dressing
on the suspected bite area, and immobilize the bite area.
3. TRANSPORT VICTIM IMMEDIATELY TO MEDICAL FACILITY. Send the snake, if possible, or its identifications with
the victim to aid medical personnel in determining the proper treatment.
CAUTION: Do not attempt to capture the snake alive. Try to kill it without damaging too many of its identifying features.
Handle it carefully; a freshly killed snake can bite due to reflex action.