How To Treat A Snake Bite

While we were in the yard moving wood piles the other day, my husband lifted a sheet of plywood to find a Copperhead hiding underneath! He ran inside and got his gun, then ran back out and shot it before it could get away. The scary thing is that our little one, Titus, had been playing within feet of this wood pile just an hour before. When I realized how close he’d been to such a dangerous snake, I decided it was important that I do some research on how to treat a snake bite, just in case we aren’t so fortunate next time.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Try to keep the victim calm. Freaking out will only hasten the spread of the poison.
  2. Don’t worry about trying to catch the snake to identify it, doctors can usually tell what kind of snake it was by its bite mark. It helps to identify it if you can, but don’t waste time trying.
  3. Keep the bite wound below heart level.
  4. Wash the wound with warm water and soap.
  5. Remove any tight clothing and jewelry as swelling will occur.
  6. If the snake is a coral snake or a cobra, wrap the extremity with an elastic pressure bandage. Start from the point closest to the heart and wrap towards the fingers or toes. Continue to keep the bite lower than the heart.
  7. If a victim is unable to reach medical care within 30 minutes, a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, may help slow venom. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. A good rule of thumb is to make the band loose enough that a finger can slip under it. The bandage should be a crepe or elastic bandage and should be wrapped as you would for a sprain.
  8. You can use a suction device from a snake bite kit to remove some of the venom.

If you know the snake was not a poisonous species, just wash the wound with warm water and soap, wipe it with rubbing alcohol, rub on some antibiotic cream, and cover it with a clean bandage. Watch for signs of infection.

I feel better knowing what to do ahead of time. If Ty had been bitten, I totally would have tried sucking the venom out with my mouth out of sheer desperation… seems like I saw that in a movie or something! That is a big NO NO, as it could spread bacteria and cause infection.

I ordered This Snake Bite Kit from Amazon for FREE with my Swagbucks, which makes me feel a little more prepared. HOPEFULLY we’ll never have to deal with any snake bites, but it’s always best to be prepared for the worst!


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4 thoughts on “How To Treat A Snake Bite”

  1. A close friend of mine was bitten by a Copperhead while we were feeding the horses one night. She kept saying it was a black snake but I KNEW it was a Copperhead! Luckily her borther is an EMT and knew what to do. Venomous snakes will have the typical fang marks and non-venomous snakes will have “teeth” marks similar to a human. I also found it comforting to know that in North Carolina (where we live) no one had dies of a Copperhead bite since the 1940’s.

  2. Thanks for sharing!!!!! I am so happy that Titus is OK 🙂 I am going to do some research myself and get a kit prepared for home… Thanks

  3. Snakes are one of my least favorite creatures. Ick!

    I’ve heard that packing the bite in ice also helps to slow down circulation of the venom.

    Our family has been studying Texas history. One of the wise rules that the early Texas pioneers had was this: Always kick over a rock or piece of wood or anything you’re going to pick up BEFORE picking it up. That way you know what is under it before you put your hand there. Very wise advise and advise I’ve passed on to my children. Since one of my daughters was stung by a scorpion while picking up a rock, I think they understand the wisdom in this practice.


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