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Types, Symptoms, and Treatments for Snake Bites

Every year, approximately 8,000 venomous snake bite cases are reported in the United States. A venomous snake bite is rarely fatal — only about six people die each year — but it should always be treated as a medical emergency. Even a seemingly harmless snake bite can be dangerous, causing an allergic reaction or infection. Snake bites can cause a variety of symptoms, such as localized pain and swelling, convulsions, nausea, and even paralysis.

Poisonous snakes bite approximately 8,000 people in the United States each year. Even if the snake is not poisonous, a bite can cause infection or an allergic reaction in the victim. Snakes can be extremely dangerous, so proceed with caution.


Poisonous snakes include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouth water moccasins, and coral snakes. Individuals who have been bitten may experience a variety of symptoms. Swelling at the bite site, bloody wound discharge, and skin fang marks are all common symptoms. The bite will cause intense localized pain, possibly with a burning sensation. Diarrhea is also a possibility. Convulsions, fainting, dizziness, and weakness are also common side effects. There may be vision blurring and excessive sweating, as well as a fever and increased heart rate. Loss of muscle coordination, numbness, a rapid pulse, nausea, and vomiting are some of the other symptoms.


If someone has been bitten, call medical assistance right away for help. It is critical to respond quickly. Wash the wound with soap and water while you wait for an ambulance. Maintain a bite that is lower than the heart. To reduce swelling, apply a cool compress and keep an eye on your vitals.

The American Red Cross recommends wrapping a bandage 2 to 4 inches above the bite to slow the venom if medical help is not available within 30 minutes. The band should be able to slip a finger underneath it without cutting off blood flow. The suction device in a commercial snake bite kit can be used to help draw the venom out of the wound.

Antivenin will be used by doctors. Antivenin is a snake venom antidote that is used to treat serious bites. It is made up of antibodies produced by horses after snake venom is injected into their blood serum. People who are allergic to horse products should avoid using the antivenin because it is made from horses.


Many precautions can be taken to avoid being bitten by a snake. Leave a snake alone if you see one. When people try to kill a snake, they often get bitten. Wear thick leather boots and stay on the hiking paths when walking through tall grass. Do not enter the snake's territory on purpose. Climbing through rocky areas and picking up firewood should be done with caution.


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