SNAKEBITE PREVENTION AND FIRST AID
How can I avoid snakebites?
Most snakebites occur between April and October, when outdoor activities are popular. You can avoid snakebites
by taking the following steps:
- Avoid places where snakes may live. These places include tall grass or brush, rocky areas, fallen logs, bluffs, swamps,
marshes, and deep holes in the ground.
- When moving through tall grass or weeds, poke at the ground in front of you with a long stick to scare away snakes.
- Watch where you step and where you sit when outdoors.
- Wear loose, long pants and high, thick leather or rubber boots.
- Shine a flashlight on your path when walking outside at night.
- Never handle a snake, even if you think it is dead. Recently killed snakes may still bite by reflex.
What should I do if a snake bites me?
- Stay calm.
- If you see the snake, try to remember what it looks like. Do NOT approach the snake; don't try to catch it or to kill
- Take off any jewelry or tight clothing near the bite quickly, before swelling starts.
- Lift a bitten arm or leg so it is level with your heart.
- Clean the bite wound. Be sure to wipe in the direction away from the wound.
- If you think the bite was from a poisonous snake, get to a hospital as soon as
you can. In most of the United States, you should have time to get medical help before the bite is a serious danger to your
- If medical help is more than 30 minutes away, tie an elastic wrap two inches above the bite. The wrap should be loose
enough to slip a finger underneath it.
- DO NOT bleed the wound.
- DO NOT try to suck the venom out of the wound.
- DO NOT put ice on the bite.