Are snake bites dangerous?
The answer might seem obvious, but there are two different types of snake bites. And one is more serious than the other:
- Dry bites: These occur when a snake doesn’t release any venom with its bite. As you’d expect, these are mostly seen with non-venomous snakes.
- Venomous bites: These are much more dangerous. They occur when a snake transmits venom during a bite.
Poisonous snakes voluntarily emit venom when they bite. They can control the amount of venom they discharge, and 50 to 70% of venomous snake bites result in envenoming or poisoning. Even with a less serious type of bite, every snake bite should be treated as a medical emergency — unless you’re absolutely sure that the bite came from a non-venomous snake. Any delay in treatment following a venomous snake bite could result in serious injury or, in the worst-case scenario, death.
A snake bite can cause people to panic and act irrationally. Even so, there are certain things you should avoid doing immediately following a snake bite, including:
- Don’t pick up the snake or try to wrap it up or kill it, as this will increase your chance of getting bitten again. Even dead snakes can bite.
- Don’t apply a tourniquet.
- Don’t cut into the wound at all.
- Don’t try to suck out the venom.
- Don’t apply ice or use water to submerge the wound.
- Don’t drink alcohol.
- Don’t drink beverages with caffeine.
- Don’t take any pain-relieving medication.