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How To Prevent and Survive a Snake Bite

Posted by on 8/24/2011 to First Aid and Medical

Snake bites, although rare, can be a serious threat in the wilderness. It is important to take all the precautions to not get bit in the first place, but if you do, we can tell you everything you need to know. Below are 2 lists. One list includes some techniques to prevent snake bites and encounters, the second list describes some techniques to apply if you are bitten.
How To Prevent A Snake Bite
  • Learn about your environment before entering. You should be fully aware of the types of snakes (and any other dangerous animal, insect, plant, or threat) before spending time camping and hiking through the outdoors. Learn to recognize these threats so when confronted, you can back away and go a different direction.
  • Always be fully alert with every step and movement you make. Never reach your hand under a log or rock where you can not see. Piles of brush and dead leaves are often home to snakes and other critters. A walking stick can be useful to prod areas before stepping to alert the snake of your presence before your foot gets there.
  • Do not sleep directly on the ground. Elevation and some type of bounded shelter is ideal.
  • Try to avoid being in water, but if you have to, move slowly to prevent startling.
  • Use a light of some kind at the first signs of darkness. Not only will the light help you see snakes but it will also alert them of a presence, making them less likely to attack due to being startled.
  • Wear snake protective gear like snake boots or gloves designed to prevent a snakes fangs from penetrating.
What To Do If Bitten By A Snake
  • Contact 911 or help as soon as possible. The faster you can get an antivenin the better.
  • Move as little as possible and remain calm and relaxed
  • Keep the bitten area below the level of the heart. Do not elevate.
  • Do not consume caffiene, energy drinks, alcohol, medications, or any type of drug.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet or ice.
  • Remove any constricting clothing or jewelry like watches, necklaces, or tight clothes.
  • Clean the wound and cover, but try not to rub too much or apply pressure.
  • Only use a suction technique if you feel it would take too long to reach medical help. This technique often doesn't help, cutting an incision should only be done by professionals.

Related Survival Gear: Snake Bite Kit, First Aid, Animal Deterrents, Trekking Pole

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