The key to surviving a rattlesnake bite is to remain calm and seek medical attention immediately. When biting, venomous snakes inject venom (venom) into the victim's body. If not treated, the bite can cause death. However, if the victim is immediately given the antidote, serious damage can be prevented or repaired.
Part 1 of 3: Respond Quickly and Calmly
Step 1. Call the emergency number immediately
119 in Indonesia, 911 in the United States, 999 in the United Kingdom, and 000 in Australia. The key to surviving a venomous snake bite is to get the antidote as quickly as possible.
- Call the emergency number even if you are not sure whether the snake is venomous or not. Don't wait for symptoms to appear. If you wait, you will lose valuable time while you can spread.
- The emergency number responder will determine whether to send an ambulance/helicopter or whether you have to go to the nearest emergency room yourself.
- If you have to go to the emergency room yourself, have someone drive you. Don't drive yourself. When they take effect, symptoms such as blurred vision, shortness of breath, fainting, and paralysis may occur and make it impossible for you to drive.
Step 2. Wait for help to calmly arrive
Try to stay calm while you wait for help to arrive. The faster your heart beats, the faster the snake's venom can spread throughout your body. Do not try to suck in snake venom from the bite site. This won't help because the snake venom has spread.
Step 3. Describe the snake's characteristics to the emergency number answering officer by telephone
That will allow them to prepare the right antidote for you. Inform the characteristics of the snake in as much detail as possible.
- How long is the snake?
- How thick is the snake
- What color is the snake?
- What is the shape of the snake's head? What is a triangle?
- What is the shape of the pupil of a snake's eye? Is it round or vertical?
- If the friend you're with can quickly snap a photo of the snake while you're calling the emergency number, take the photo with you.
- Don't try to kill a snake to take with you. That's very dangerous because the snake can bite again, wasting precious time before getting the antidote, and the more it moves and pushes itself, the faster it can spread throughout the body.
- Some antidotes can be polyvalent – that is, they are effective against different types of venom.
Step 4. Remain calm, still, and immobile during the trip to the hospital or waiting for the ambulance
The faster the heart beats, the more blood will flow to the area of the snakebite wound and the more widespread the venom will spread.
- The area of the bite wound will likely start to swell. Immediately remove any jewelry or tight clothing.
- Keep the bite wound area lower than the heart to reduce circulation to other parts of the body.
- If bitten in the arm or leg, put a splint to limit movement. This will prevent you from moving the bitten arm/leg involuntarily. Do not let the blood circulation in the area of the bite wound increase.
- If you're with someone strong enough to lift you, allow them to do so so that your circulation doesn't increase from walking.
- If you must walk, reduce the physical burden by carrying nothing (for example, a hiking backpack).
Step 5. For shallow bite wounds, allow the blood to drain out on its own
There is a lot of blood that comes out at first because it can usually contain anticoagulants. If the snakebite wound is deep enough for blood to spurt (for example, a snakebite has reached a large artery and you are losing blood quickly), apply pressure to the wound immediately.
- Various sources provide conflicting information about whether or not wounds should be washed. While some sources say that it is okay to wash the wound or the area near the wound with soap and water, others recommend the opposite, saying that residual venom that can be found in or around the wound can help medical professionals identify the type of snake that bit you, as well as determine the bidder could be the right one.
- Cover the bite wound with a clean, non-medicated bandage.
Step 6. Know the symptoms of a rattlesnake bite
Symptoms vary based on the type of snake, the severity of the bite, and the amount of venom injected into the wound. Symptoms that can occur include:
- Redness, discoloration, and/or swelling around the bite wound
- Very severe pain or burning
- Low blood pressure
- Dizziness or fainting
- Hard to breathe
- Blurred vision
- Sweating, fever and thirst
- Numbness or tingling in the face or limbs
- Loss of body coordination
- Difficulty speaking
- Swollen tongue and throat
- Stomach pain
- The pulse becomes fast
- If a shock occurs, the ambulance/hospital/ambulance personnel will be able to handle it.
- Snake bites are much more dangerous in children because of their smaller body size.
Step 7. Consider options if you are away from medical help
Today, most cell phones have GPS technology, which makes it possible for rescue teams to find you, even when hiking in remote areas. So always call the emergency number to discuss all available options. Remember, the only effective treatment is the antidote. Without an antidote, it can lead to permanent injury or even death. If you are unable to call the emergency number, options include:
- Walk until you reach an area where you can call for help. If you must do this, try to move as quickly as possible, but minimize physical effort. If you're with a friend, ask him to carry your backpack.
- If walking is not possible, wash the wound with soap and water to reduce the chance of infection.
- Wrap the snake-bitten limb with a bandage 5-10 cm above the bite wound to inhibit, but not completely stop, blood circulation. One finger should still be able to fit under the bandage. This will slow the spread of the venom without damaging the limbs.
- If you have a snakebite first aid kit with a suction pump, use it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Many sources say that these tools are ineffective at eliminating can and just wasting valuable time. However, if you can't get a bidder right away, it's worth a try.
- Rest, and stay calm. Keep the area of the bite wound lower than the heart to slow the spread of the venom. Snakes do not always inject venom when biting, and when injecting, not always in large quantities. You may be lucky.
Part 2 of 3: Knowing What Not to Do
Step 1. Do not apply ice or cold compresses to the wound
That will reduce circulation, concentrate the venom on the tissue, and most likely damage the tissue.
Snake bites can make people more susceptible to frostbite (frostbite)
Step 2. Don't slice the wound
Slicing the wound is often done before suction can, but actually increases the risk of infection.
- Because the snake's fangs are curved, it may not be injected in the area you expect.
- Could would've started to spread.
Step 3. Do not attempt to suck the venom with your mouth
Transferring venom to the mouth is dangerous, as it can be absorbed through the membranes of the mouth. In addition, bacteria from the mouth can also transfer to the wound, increasing the chance of infection.
- Most of the venom will remain in the body, so it is better to take the time to try to get medical help as soon as possible.
- Although some sources recommend using a vacuum pump, other sources say that it is not effective.
Step 4. Do not take any medication, including pain medication, unless instructed by your doctor
Medicine is not a substitute for snake venom.
Step 5. Do not electrocute or use a stun gun on the wound
It can injure you, and has not been shown to be effective in treating rattlesnake bites.
Step 6. Do not use a tourniquet
Blocking circulation will concentrate the venom in the limb bitten by the snake, making the tissue more likely to be damaged by the venom. Stopping blood circulation completely can damage the limb permanently.
- Some sources recommend applying a pressure bandage 5–10 cm above the bite wound to slow the spread of the venom if you are away from medical help.
- It would also likely concentrate the venom in the snake-bitten limb, increasing the risk of tissue damage in that area.
- Do not completely stop blood flow to the limb.
Part 3 of 3: Preventing Snake Bites
Step 1. Do not disturb the snake
If you see a snake, walk around it for a very long distance. Snakes can peck quickly.
- If you hear the distinctive rattling sound of a rattlesnake, move away immediately.
- Most snakes will stay away from you if given the chance.
- Never disturb or stab a snake with a stick.
- Don't try to pick up the snake.
Step 2. Wear snake boots and leggings made of thick leather
Snake leggings are leather chaps that can be fastened over boots to protect the feet from snake bites. Snake leggings are heavy and hot for hiking, but worth it if they save you from a snake bite.
Protective shoes and snake leggings are essential especially if hiking at night when you could accidentally step on a snake in the dark
Step 3. Avoid tall grass that prevents you from seeing if there are snakes
If you have to climb through tall grass where the snake might be hiding, use a long stick to brush the grass out in front of you. The stick can brush the grass away so you can see the snake and possibly scare it away.
Step 4. Do not lift rocks and logs under which the snake may be hiding
If you must, use a stick, and never put your hand in a hole where you can't see the inside!
If you are working in the garden or gardening in a venomous area, wear thick leather gloves to protect your hands. It is best to choose long-sleeved leather gloves so that not only the hands are protected
Step 5. Know what venomous snakes look like in your area
If you find a venomous snake, stay away with extreme caution. Also remember to be alert and listen for the distinctive rattling sound of the rattlesnake. If you hear it, back away as fast as you can!