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I know you are wondering why I have decided to talk about snake bites today. Well, this is why… When you travel or are on safari, even in your house it is highly possible to encounter these ‘fangy guys’. Who are the people who have most snake bites? Hikers or even forest trekkers. Today, I basically want to teach you how you can deal with a snake bite. Just talking about snakes gives me the creeps but oh well that’s biodiversity for me.

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First of all not all snakes are dangerous to us. Believe it or not only 20% of the snakes in the world are poisonous. In the next article I will talk about the world’s deadliest snakes. In this day and age I believe that we should not be losing our loved ones to poison. 5.4 Million- that is how many people are bitten by snakes every year and even worse; 138,000 of these people die and 400,000 are left disabled. With this article I am hoping to cut this number into half.

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Well then let’s begin.

  1. How do you know that someone has been bitten by a snake?

The most common symptoms of snake bites would be (RPSB)- Redness, Pain, Swelling and Bruising an abbreviation that I have created to just make the symptoms memorable. Watch out for these symptoms so that you can help the victim immediately.

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2. Here’s what to do.

Get a good look at the snake

Different snakes sometimes have different antidotes. If you get a good look at the snake when you get to the hospital you can describe the snake and be tended to quickly.

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Remain still and calm to slow down the venom.

By remaining still or lying down we literally lower our blood pressure. but in this case lying down does not apply and staying still does. Why? Because we need to keep the bite below the heart level. Since blood pressure is lower, it will take a longer time for the venom to circulate.

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Cover the wound with clean dressing

Just like any other wound, a clean bandage should be used to cover this snake bite to prevent further infections to the bitten area. If you don’t have access to a bandage you can use a clean cloth and just cover the wound.

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Remove any tight clothing and jewelry before you start to swell

Snake bites will usually cause the victim to swell in the affected area so that’s why you need to make sure that the jewelry and tight clothing so that these do not bring more problems later on.

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Position yourself, so that the bite is below the heart level

Let the victim lie in a semi-reclined position with the wound below the heart level. This means lowering your bite wound. See the picture below.

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3. Don’t do this

  • Don’t use a tourniquet or apply ice.
  • Don’t cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom.
  • Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol, which could speed your body’s absorption of venom.
  • Don’t try to capture the snake. Try to remember its color and shape so that you can describe it, which will help in your treatment. If you have a smartphone with you and it won’t delay your getting help, take a picture of the snake from a safe distance to help with identification

Best way to avoid treating snake wounds is to avoid being bitten in the first place. In next weeks article we will look at the world’s most dangerous snakes and how to prevent being bitten by them.

Barbara Michoma,

The Traveling Mindset.

Published by Barbara Michoma

I am a tour operator in Kenya. I have a degree in Tourism Management and I have my own company known as The Traveling mindset Limited which is centered on giving people a chance to experience the world in a sustainable way. I am extremely passionate about climate change, human rights, sustainable tourism, accessible tourism and meeting new people and giving them unforgettable experiences. For fun I play hockey and read all kinds of books. I have two dogs and I love animals very much. My all time hobby though, is writing and sharing my thoughts with the world.

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