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Articles Home » First Aid & Safety » Snakebite First Aid
Snakebite First Aid

Make sure to also read the article on Avoiding A Snakebite

According to the Centers For Disease Control, in case of a snakebite;


* Do remain calm - Remember that there is an excellent chance for survival, and in most cases there is plenty of time.

* Do suck and squeeze - as much venom as possible directly from the wound. Venom is protein and can be taken orally with no ill effects.

* Do remove jewelry - Swelling can progress rapidly, so rings, watches and bracelets can be a real problem.

* Do mark the time - The progress of symptoms (swelling) is the most obvious indicator of the amount of envenomation.

* Do keep the stricken limb below the heart.

* Do get to a hospital as quickly as possible - Anti-venom serum is the only sure cure for envenomation, and because some people are allergic to horse serum it should only be given in a fully equipped medical facility.

* In case of a Coral bite, do pull the snake off immediately - Corals' fangs are relatively small, and they have to work at getting venom into the wound. Therefore, the faster the snake is removed the less venom is injected.

* Do attempt to identify the offending snake - Positive identification in the form of a dead snake is helpful, if convenient, but no time or safety should be wasted since the symptoms will give medical personnel an accurate diagnosis.

* Do get a tetanus shot.


* Don't cut the wound - This almost always causes more damage than it's worth.

* Don't use a tourniquet - This isolates the venom in a small area and causes the digestive enzymes in the venom to concentrate the damage.

* Don't use alcohol orally - it speeds the heart and blood flow and reduces the body's counter-acting ability.

* Don't use ice - Freezing the stricken limb has been found to be a major factor leading to amputation.

Source: Centers For Disease Control,

Click on FRED the albino eastern diamondback rattlesnake for the next page in the site tour. :-)

Write these numbers down and keep them with you if you deal with venomous snakes on a regular basis, especially if you are in the Southeast.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Venom Response Unit (305)596-8576**
**The new number for the Miami Dade Fire-Rescue Antivenin Unit is (786) 336-6600. The old one will be active until December of 2006.**

Non-emergency during normal business hours: (786) 331-4454

Lt. Ernie Jillson ell: (786)229-0736

Lt. Ernie Jillson pager: (305)366-3459

Venom 1:

Venom 2:

Venom 3:

#1 | Browny on October 01 2005 10:33:57
Suck'n and squuezin i s the last thing you should do.

The CDC website actually says "do not suck the venom from the wound"
Here in Australia the medics use a skin swab test to determine/confirm the snake ID. So you should not wash the bite area either.
Just wrap it in bandages, (compression to stop the poison flow in your lymph system) and stay calm (keep your heart rate down).
#2 | Chad on October 28 2005 02:18:23
Here's the link to the page on the cdc site.

My non-medical opinion is that sucking and squeezing (notice that it does say NOT to cut the wound) wouldn't hurt, but probably wouldn't help much. I think that the time would be best spent getting to a licensed and experienced physician.
#3 | Meat Hunter on January 21 2006 15:20:38
I read an article about vitamin C injection from Australia used on dogs with snake bite. Anyone know of it?
#4 | firekillerjosh on May 27 2006 23:55:31
I used to think the same thing about an attempt to suck the venom out either orally or via sawyer extractor or whatever. And sure enough it may not help, it may not hurt, but there are some things I think should be considdered such as:

Attempting to suck venom out of a bite wound is like trying to suck the tetanus shot you just got right back out of your blood stream. If it's in the blood stream you can bet it's in circulation-if your heart is still beating.
Also, even if it would work it's doing more damage by bringing the venom back to the same location over and over again with every suck. If it would actually move the venom back toward the location of the bite, it would be put right back into circulation again through bloodflow, back and forth again. Think of the venom as you would fire. Everything it touches, it begins to destroy it, right? So why hold as much venom as possible in one small little location, I mean, after all, isn't that why you don't apply a tourniquet?
#5 | Diamond Back on March 10 2007 18:51:11
I have only recently been introduced to, as a snake lover i find it an awesome site. I am particularly drawn to the Eastern Diamond Back, hence my nick name Diamond Back. Thank you to all enthusiasts for the site. A pity we do not have the E.Diamond Back in South Africa. Should you know of someone in Kwa Zulu Natal that has one i would be greatful for an address.
#6 | Diamond Back on March 10 2007 18:51:14
I have only recently been introduced to, as a snake lover i find it an awesome site. I am particularly drawn to the Eastern Diamond Back, hence my nick name Diamond Back. Thank you to all enthusiasts for the site. A pity we do not have the E.Diamond Back in South Africa. Should you know of someone in Kwa Zulu Natal that has one i would be greatful for an address.
#7 | budcampo on October 20 2009 00:33:20
Hi, so I just recently went through the hell of a diamondback bite. I'm almost 100% now.
What I'm curious is.. most everywhere I read about what to do when bit, it's always generic about applying a tourniquet. There are situations to me that it seems like you should, like if your not sure your going to get to the hospital. Am I right?
I got bit in the finger, and I cut off the blood to my finger tell I knew I was getting medical attention. Might lose the finger, but save your life. Just curious about this, and why there isn't recomendations for different situations?
BTW, is the severed arm real? Pretty halloween looking!
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