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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Know How To Treat A Snake Bite For Outdoor Survival

Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus le...Image by GregTheBusker via FlickrKnow How To Treat A Snake Bite For Outdoor Survival

Whether you are simply hiking through the woods or stranded in the wilderness, you must know how to treat a snake bite in an emergency.  Snakes are a real danger to your survival.  In the United States alone, nearly 8,000 people get bit by poisonous snakes each year.  Even the snakes that are considered to be generally safe, can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

Rattlesnakes, coral snakes, cottonmouth water moccasin, and copperhead snakes are all capable of causing poisonous bites.  The symptoms of poisonous snake bites vary from person to person, but swelling at the site of the bite, severe localized pain, and burning is common.  Other symptoms include dizziness, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, numbness, and convulsions.

Of course, contacting EMS for help after a snake bite is the ideal plan of action, but when you are out in the wilderness, this isn't always an option.  There are some things you can do until you get proper medical attention to treat the snake bite.

Wash the wound with soap and water if possible.  It is a good idea to immobilize the area of the snake bite as much as possible, just like you would do to splint a broken limb.  Hold the limb lower than the heart.  Apply a bandage above the bite by 2 to 4 inches.  The band should be loose enough to slide a finger underneath it.  The idea is to slow the venom from reaching the heart without cutting off the circulation completely to the area.

If you have a snake bite survival kit available to you, use it.  The suction device will remove some of the venom from the bite, but not much and it needs to be applied immediately after the bite.  If this is not available, DO NOT cut the area of the snake bite open and use your mouth to suck out the venom.  This is a complete waste of time and will only make the wound worse.

Ultimately, you will need anti-venom. If you know you will be traveling in a snake prone area, it is always a good idea to keep a snake bite survival kit with you whenever you are in remote locations in the wilderness.

Of course, the best way to know how to treat snake bites is by avoiding snakes altogether. 

If you are gathering firewood or hunting shelter in caves be cautious of snakes.  These animals can strike quickly.  Often people are surprised to learn how far a snake can strike.  The best advice is to turn away from any snake if at all possible.

Knowing what to do during a snake bite emergency can make survival possible.  Always be prepared for the unexpected.

Wear sturdy shoes and long pants when traveling in the woods to prevent a snake bite.  Also, be extremely careful when gathering fire wood.  Snakes like to hide beneath logs for shelter.

Avoiding snakes is the best prevention for a snake bite.  Appropriate clothing is another way to prevent a terrible bite from a poisonous snake.  If a snake bite occurs, grab the snake bite survival kit in your gear to treat it immediately.  Get medical attention as soon as possible.

See you on the trail,
--Greg  

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1 comment:

  1. This is valuable advice! As a Cancer Survivor and current fighter of a second Cancer These tools are adaptable to all areas of human endeavor. Thank You!
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