Venomous Snakes of
Florida

and Snakebite Treatment
By Greg (Snakeman) Longhurst
Photos By Bill Love

SNAKEBITE
FIRST AID


PREVENTION:

1. Do not play with snakes.
2. Keep landscape well manicured.
3. Wear shoes around the home.
4. Wear gloves when weeding.
5. Wear leather boots when in snake country.
6. Develop the habit of watching where you put your hands.
7.  Learn to identify the venomous snakes in your area.

      Snakebite can be the stabbing strike of a Rattlesnake that can be recognized by one or two definite puncture wounds and if venom is injected there will be intense, burning pain and swelling around the holes. 
The Coral Snake bites and usually holds.  There will be little pain,
but the victim will begin to lose control of all reflexes.  Drooping
eyelids will probably be the first outward sign of envenomation. 

For Snakebite First Aid

DO:

1. REMAIN CALM - Remember that there is an excellent chance for survival and in most cases there is plenty of time.

2. GET TO THE HOSPITAL AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE - Anti-venom serum is the only specific treatment for envenomation, and because some people are allergic to horse serum, it should only be given in a fully equipped medical facility.  

3. APPLY SUCTION - Immediately and directly to the fang punctures.

4. REMOVE JEWELRY - Rapid progression of swelling make rings, watches, and bracelets a real problem. 

5. MARK THE TIME - The progress of symptoms (swelling) is the most obvious indicator of the amount of envenomation.  Periodically mark the stricken limb with a pen as swelling progresses, noting the time of each mark.

6. KEEP THE STRICKEN LIMB BELOW THE HEART - Treat for shock if necessary.

7. ATTEMPT TO IDENTIFY THE OFFENDING SNAKE - Positive identification in the form of a dead snake is helpful if convenient, but only if it can be done quickly and safely.  Symptoms should give medical personnel an accurate diagnosis. 

8. GET A TETANUS SHOT

DON'T:

1. DON'T CUT THE WOUND - This almost always causes more trouble than it's worth.

2. DON'T USE A TOURNIQUET - This isolates the venom in a small area and causes digestive enzymes in the venom to concentrate the damage.

3. DON'T USE ALCOHOL ORALLY - It speeds up the heart and blood flow and reduces the body's counteracting ability.

4. DON'T USE ICE - Freezing the stricken limb has been found to be a major factor leading to amputation.