Of the hundreds of species of snakes in the USA only a low percentage are actually venomous. However, given the shock, distress and panic that most of us would feel on unexpectedly encountering a snake, it is highly unlikely that we would be able to easily identify whether the snake we were facing was venomous or not!
Learning and teaching ‘snake awareness’ to you and your family is an important part of protecting you and them from snakes. This awareness of snakes and snake bites has a three pronged approach:
The danger from snake bites and the toxicity of venom that a snake injects in to its victim varies from species to species.
The recommended first aid for snake bites will also vary according to species and this underlines the importance of being able to place venomous snakes in to groups according to the properties of their venom. The required treatment for a snake bite is defined according to whether the venom is cytotoxic, haemotoxic or neurotoxic and the wrong treatment will not only be of little or no help but could even be dangerous.
- CYTOTOXIC: An agent or process that is toxic to cells and suppresses cell function or causes cell death.
- HAEMOTOXIC: An agent or process that kills red blood cells and prevents clotting resulting in internal and external bleeding.
- NEUROTOXIC: An agent or process that is destructive or deadly to nerves or nervous tissue
If Venom is spat in to a person’s eyes use any liquid available, preferably a neutral one such as water or milk – but anything at all will do - and flush out the eye.
Symptoms usually manifest themselves reasonably soon after a snake bite so observation of the victim is extremely important. If no symptoms have occurred within less than half an hour of the bite then indications would be that it was not a venomous snake, it failed to inject any venom or the snake was very old and had little or no venom left.
While there can be differences of opinion as to what we should do for snake bites the consensus of opinion as to what not to do is reasonably consistent:
Talk to the experts - if you would like further advice about minimizing the risk of snakes in your home and garden or would like to arrange a free inspection call us free at .
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