Wednesday, November 16, 2011

That SOB Bit Me! (snake bites)

Snake bites are not only annoying and painful, but they can even make you dead.

What we will explore here is a quick what-to-do and what-not-to-do guide on handling snake bites. The important thing to remember going into this is that your survival success increases greatly with how calm you remain. And we mean this literally. The more excited you become, the faster your heart-rate increases and this has an extraordinarily negative impact on how quickly the venom spreads through your body. So CHILL OUT.

O.K., now that we have calmed ourselves, you should know that while this guide is directed specifically towards venomous bites, non-venomous snake bites can be very dangerous in their own right due to the propensity of them becoming infected. This is a fact that isn't very well known and could save your life. So no matter what sort of snake bites you, clean the wound with soap and water then follow these steps:

  1. If possible, immediately try to lightly clean the affected area with soap and water. This might not be an option, but if possible it is a good idea. At the very least you will want to run water over the wound to try and cool the area and slow the spread of the venom and swelling.
  2. Immobilize the area of your body where you have been bitten below your heart level if possible. Hopefully you were not bitten in the face like the nincompoop in the opening caption.
  3. Remove any jewelry, rings, or articles of clothing that will be affected by the inevitiable swelling to come. 
  4. Using pieces of your shirt, pants leg, or any other readily available material - constrict the affected area right around 3 inches above the wound and in between it and your heart (if possible). You will want to keep in front of the swelling by moving this constrictive band as needed. Be sure you are able to place a finger in between the bandage and the skin so as to not cut off circulation.
  5. Pop an aspirin if available, this will help with the pain (along with your colorful metaphors) and decrease the swelling.

  1. In the event of a snake bite, the last thing you want to do is ingest stimulants like alcohol, tea, or coffee and avoid smoking tobacco. These thin your blood and will allow the venom easy passage throughout your body.
  2. Do NOT cut the wound and try to suck the venom out like those cowboys you've seen on television. This is for two reasons. 1) Cutting the wound can lead to increased damage by allowing the toxins further access into the body and 2) You don't want to poison the person yourself (or the person that is trying to help you) by ingesting the venom.

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