DESCRIPTIONSnakebite is a bite from a poisonous snake. Bites on the extremities are the most common, but bites on the head and trunk are the most dangerous. Exposed skin, blood, and the lymphatic system are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Doctor's treatment as soon as possible.
Surgery (sometimes) to remove injured or gangrenous tissue 2 to 3 days after the bite.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSevere pain and swelling around the bite.
Skin discoloration that resembles bruising around the bite.
Bleeding spots under the skin all over the body.
Numbness and tingling around the mouth and in the hands and feet.
Low blood pressure and shock.
Multiple fang marks and small cuts, if the bite is from a coral snake. Symptoms may not appear for 3 to 4 hours.
Deep single or double fang marks, if the bite is from another snake. Symptoms begin quickly.
Bite from a poisonous snake, including rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin, or coral snake.
Outdoor activities during warm months in areas where poisonous snakes live.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEYour child should wear protective shoes, boots, and clothing for hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. Prevent complications by carrying a snakebite kit and instructions.
MEDICAL TESTSYour own observation of symptoms; medical history and physical exam by a doctor; laboratory blood studies.
Gangrene, requiring amputation of the affected part.
DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation).
Severe immunological response, if your child has had a previous venomous snakebite.
Usually curable with rapid medical care. Severe bites involving a large amount of poisonous venom may be fatal to your child -- even with treatment. After one snakebite, succeeding snakebites may produce more severe reactions.
Don't panic! Venom will spread more quickly through the body if your child runs or becomes excited.
Before giving the child first aid, identify the snake.
Don't pack the affected part in ice.
If the child's bite is from a coral snake, elevate and immobilize the bitten part and go to the nearest emergency facility.
If the bite is from another poisonous snake:
-- Put a light tourniquet (constricting band of any sort) 3 or 4 inches above the bite, toward the body. Don't use a tourniquet if 30 minutes or more have passed since the bite.
-- Wash the bite with soap and water.
-- Immobilize the bitten area.
-- Go to the nearest emergency facility.
MEDICATIONAntivenin to neutralize snake poison.
Tetanus booster injection.
Antibiotics to prevent infection.
Pain relievers. (Narcotics cannot be used for coral-snake bites. They may cause shock.)
Your doctor may prescribe:
Your child can resume normal activities as soon as symptoms improve.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child or someone you are with receives a snakebite.