You’ve been bitten by a snake, or you’ve been ‘envenomated’ by a snake, or maybe you’ve been stung by a poisonous jelly fish. What should you do?
Of course, you should do what they do in the movies! We all know you should either:
- Amputate the extremity
- ‘cut out’ the bite with a knife
- Suck out the venom and spit it out
- Tourniquet it!
You shall do NOTHING of the sort!
Amputating the extremity may not even be necessary! That is an extreme intervention and you would most likely die from the resultant blood-loss.
Cutting anything out is completely stupid! You may lacerate a main artery or vein!
Sucking out venom is equally stupid! You can end up poisoning yourself!
Absurd! You’ll probably lose the limb of you do that!
The rational behind ALL of these asinine interventions is: you can remove more poison before it goes into circulation, or in the case of the tourniquet, to prevent the poison from going into circulation.
False! Once stung or bitten the venom will be instantly in your circulation.
What can you do?
The only thing you can do to impede the venom would be after being bitten to immediately 1) clamp down the bitten area with your hand, slightly up-stream from the bite, and 2) proceed to squeeze down hard and try to squeeze the poison out.
This may or may not work, and its effectiveness depends upon how deep the bite/sting was. If it was a shallow surface bite then you have a good chance at being able to squeeze out a decent amount of venom.
- Stay calm, keep your heart rate down
- Wrap the affected area with a bandage
- Try to identify what exactly envenomated you
- Go to the Emergency Room and have a physician look it over