Snake Bites

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In the spring and summer people spend more time out in nature. One risk you may encounter is a poisonous snake. What do you do if someone is bitten? In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill gives you some life saving recommendations.

Dr. Hill:

Of the estimated 45,000 snake bites that occur each year, poisonous snakes account for 8,000 of those bites. About five people die each year.

There are three common poisonous snakes in Mississippi: the rattlesnake, copperhead and cottonmouth, or water moccasin. The amount of venom injected with each bite may vary. Twenty to 30 percent of people bitten by a poisonous snake do not get any venom injected.

What should you do if you, or someone you are with, is bitten by a snake?

- First, keep the victim calm

- Do not cut the wound or attempt to suck out any poison

- Remove any rings or constrictive devices because the area may swell

- Identify the snake if possible, but do not risk a second bite. Even a dead snake can bite from reflex for up to an hour.

- Wash the bite with soap and water

- Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart

- Seek medical attention immediately. Do not delay. Early treatment may save someones life.

Even non-poisionous snake bites can cause an allergic reaction or infection.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.