A snake bite can be a scary wound and many people have a heightened fear of what happens after you get bitten. After all, there is some reason to worry, especially if the snake that bit you was venomous. Even then, it’s not all bad news if you have the right snake bite kit.
Maybe you’re wondering what exactly a snake bite kit is, what it includes and how it will help you if you are bitten with a fanged reptile. Read on below to find out everything you need to know about getting the right snake bite kit and how it can benefit you.
Snakes are deadly. We read about them in literature, they’re said to be the reason for people dying (thanks for the temptation, Adam and Eve), but are they really that bad? Nah, but they’re super deadly if you come across the wrong snake.
The best snake bite kit can add hours to your window of death or getting to the hospital for antivenin.
Table of Contents
- What is a Snake Bite?
- 6 Symptoms of a Snake Bite
- Why You Need a First Aid Kit for a Snake Bite
- 5 Best Snake Bite Kits Reviews 2019
- 6 Steps to Treat a Non-Venomous Snake Bite
- 1. Stop the Bleeding
- 2. Clean the Wound Carefully
- 3. Treat the Wound with an Antibiotic Ointment and a Bandage
- 4. Seek Medical Attention
- 5. Pay Attention to the Wound as it Heals
- 6. Drink Plenty of Fluids as You Heal
- 1. Rattlesnake Bites
- 2. Water Moccasins or Cottonmouth Snake Bites
- 3. Copperheads Bites
- 4. Coral Snake Bites
- 7 Don't When Bitten
What is a Snake Bite?
A snake bite is when a snake bites a human – or another animal. Dogs, cats and other animals can be bitten by a snake, too. Snake venom experts recommend immediate action be taken after a bite if you don’t know if the snake is venomous or not.
However, before reading through this article, I’d like to show you the final winner first (by our 11-hour research work):
6 Symptoms of a Snake Bite
Medical care is needed if you’ve suffered from a snakebite, but you might also want to know the symptoms of a bite before worrying yourself to death. In the United States, there are 7,000 snake bites per year, and not all of them need a venom extractor kit to ensure you’ll survive.
Poisonous snakes account for less than 20% of all bites. Some of the symptoms of a snake bite include:
- Puncture marks
- Swelling and redness
- Pain at the site of the bite
- Vomiting and nausea (venomous bites)
- Troubled vision (venomous bites)
- Trouble breathing (venomous bites)
If the venom spreads, the potency of snake venom increases and can cause:
- Nervous system interruption
- Blood coagulation
Death can occur rapidly, depending on the venom and snake. There are rare times when a venomous snake will attack, causing a dry bite. A dry bite doesn’t pose any risks, but it can be a terrifying ordeal.
I don’t want a snake lunging at me. Do you?
Probably not. But if the snake isn’t venomous, there is little to worry about. A puncture wound may be present, and in this case, you’ll want to clean the site of the wound to ensure that the problem doesn’t result in an infection.
A snakebite wound that is properly cleaned and nonvenomous will heal on its own, leaving no lasting issues behind.
Why You Need a First Aid Kit for a Snake Bite
Well, a first aid kit will allow you to have enough time to get to the doctor and stop any bleeding that may be present. I’ve made a handy list of items below that you’ll need to keep in your kit for the best chance of survival and lowest risk of infection.
Again if the snake is venomous, you’ll wanted to go to a licensed health-care facility.
But, let’s just imagine your luck for a brief second. You’re out in the wilderness, going on the adventure of a lifetime, and there is no one around for days. The moment you sit down, you notice a beautiful snake that slithers and strikes you before you can even blink.
Maybe the snake was distributed, or maybe you stepped on a snake egg along the way – who knows?
You can’t just sit down and die.
A snakebite kit will boost your chances of survival. But, you need the best snake bite kit, not some cheap knockoff that you didn’t realize was a ripoff until you’re stuck on the floor unable to move as the venom slowly causes paralysis and a painful death.
Lucky for you, I have a few kits to recommend:
5 Best Snake Bite Kits Reviews 2019
You’ve been bitten. It’s time to take immediate action. Snakebite medicine isn’t in your pocket, but you have a Coghlans kit in your bag and it’s time to move fast. Coghlans kit is a bit different than the rest, and you’ll need to hustle to the doctor as fast as you can.
Dubbed a “complete kit,” this kit includes a few must-have necessities:
- Pillable suction cups
- Antiseptic swab
- Lymph constrictor
Whew, there are even instructions that come along with the kit so that you don’t get lost playing doctor. The scalpel is to cut the area where the bite occurred, and it’s believed that by draining the blood using this method, the user will be able to reduce the venom filling up their body.
Constricting blood flow, as this product recommends, is a short-term solution, but it slows the movement of venom to allow you a few vital hours to seek medical attention.
Sawyer extraction is a fine method of removing poison from the body, and it’s a pump vacuum. The idea is simple, but when you’re fighting a life or death battle here, you need simple. This product is world known, and it’s used for snake bites, bee stings and bites from other pests, too.
Use this kit along with Coghlans for best results.
The extractor pump kit comes with 4 different sizes plastic cups that are placed over the fang holes to suck out the venom.
All you need is one hand to use the pump, and a simple pull back of the pump works to extract the venom from the area. The key to living is to act as fast as possible, so use the device and remove as much venom as possible as quickly as possible.
If you wait too long, the venom will move deep into the body, making it nearly impossible to remove it all.
The kit includes: alcohol pads, sting care wipes, razor, adhesive bandages and the pump.
- Antiseptic wipes
- Adhesive bandages
- Venom extraction pump
- Ammonia inhalants
I recommend keeping this kit on you at all times if you’ll be in the wilderness long. I have even refilled the kit numerous times because the included items are all priceless. The pump helps remove the venom, while the wipes and bandages keep the site of the wound clean unless proper medical attention is sought.
The kit is an item you hope you’ll never have to use, but when a snake strikes, it’s the one item everyone wishes they had by their side.
Two kits for the price of one (or a bit higher). This kit removes venom and poison from the body, and it utilizes the same extractor pump as the previous kit on the list. But, it’s double the fun with two kits to keep in your first aid kit.
The kit includes a lot of goodies I think you’ll appreciate, such as:
- Vacuum pump
- 4 suction tips
- Alcohol pads
- Sting care pads
- Shaving razor
- Bite and sting booklet
It’s filled with a lot of great must-have items, and the sting booklet is very helpful, too.
Camping, hiking, doing anything in nature that might involve a random snake slithering over your foot and deciding it’s time to strike an innocent person? Yeah, you need this kit.
KONMED offers a state-of-the-art emergency first aid kit with one goal: to remove venom from a victim. This extractor pump kit comes with a high-end pump, adapters, swab, cleaning pad and tourniquet that can remove snake venom and venom from stings, too.
Negative pressure technology removes the venom in a local tissue injury.
And if you get bitten by an exceptionally large snake, there are cups that will fit over the wound to help remove the venom. Studies show that this first aid supply can help remove the venom of a rattlesnake from the body.
Compact, this kit should be in everyone’s backpack or car just in case an emergency strikes.
What To Do If You Get Bitten
If the worst happens and you get bitten by a venomous snake, there are steps you can take to help yourself.
If you happen to get bitten when you are in or near civilization, that is different than if you get bitten in the middle of nowhere and you only have yourself to depend on.
If Bitten Near Civilization
If You’re on Your Own
If there’s no one near to help you, a few of the above tips are still useful. Stay calm, call someone no matter how far out you are as long as you have service on your cell phone, remove yourself from the area and identify the snake.
However, some more specific steps to take include:
What an ER Visit Looks Like
Once you’ve notified authorities and have made it to a medical center of some kind, the doctor who has been tasked with seeing you will most likely get a brief history of you as a patient - any past illnesses, allergies, etc.
Past allergies can be especially important because they want to make sure you’re not allergic to any products that may be in any antivenom that they will need to give you.
Of course, it would help if you had a regular doctor who already knew those things about you or who had all of that paperwork on file at the hospital already.
However, it’s not always guaranteed that you’ll be able to make it to a doctor you’re familiar with, since you will want to get this looked at and treated as soon as possible.
The doctor will then focus on what the bite looks like, how it feels, etc. and he or she will get a description of the snake. Doctors will measure swelling and rate of swelling, draw blood and run other tests.
The variation of tests and how many they run depends on how serious the bite wound is and what your medical history is. The doctor will decide which antivenom to use with the results of these tests.
He or she may also consult a toxicologist to determine how much antivenom is required to treat you completely and not cause any added risks.
6 Steps to Treat a Non-Venomous Snake Bite
If you're 100% certain that you suffered a non-venomous snake bite, I still want you to seek immediate medical attention. If you've been bitten by your pet snake, there's probably no concern since you know with 100% certainty no venom was exchanged, but otherwise, do the right thing and seek help.
But if you want to know how to treat snake bites from a non-venomous snake, you can follow these simple steps:
1. Stop the Bleeding
You're bleeding, and a loss of blood is never a good thing. If you lose enough blood, you can die, and if you lose even a small amount, you may feel faint or weak. Stopping the bleeding is the first step of treatment.
2. Clean the Wound Carefully
Using soap and water, clean the bite before trying to stop the bleeding. This will remove any foreign substances in the area and help to lower the risk of infection. You'll want to avoid alcohol-based solutions, as they will burn very badly. But any soap and water will suffice at this time.
3. Treat the Wound with an Antibiotic Ointment and a Bandage
Better yet, after you're done with your water and soap cleaning, you'll want to apply antibiotic ointment to the area to kill any bacteria that may be present. You may have this ointment in your medicine cabinet, or ask a friend or family member to go get some ointment for you.
Again, this is just basic first aid, so you're doing your best to apply antibiotics to the area and stop the risk of infection.
Cover the area with a dry bandage. A tight dressing is good because it will slow the blood loss.
Note: Keep the area, such as a bitten hand, level or lower than the heart until medical attention is sought. The reason for keeping your wound lower than the heart is to limit the amount of blood with venom flowing into the heart valves and spreading to the rest of your body.
4. Seek Medical Attention
Before doing the above, call for emergency help and comply with the medical professionals who come to your aid. You should not walk much or move too much so that your blood flow doesn't accelerate. When you seek medical attention, be prepared to answer any of the following questions:
- What time were you bitten?
- What did the snake look like?
- How do you feel?
You'll have to undergo a battery of tests, and this is always the case to find out what type of snake bit you. A general knowledge of the area will also notify professionals as to what type of snake decided to attack, too.
Hospitals will stock antivenom drugs if they have venomous snakes in the area.
These drugs are powerful and will nullify the reaction to even a neurotoxic snake bite, which is one of the most serious bites you can get.
The good news is that prompt medical care will often be enough to ensure that you live. If you wait too long before seeking medical attention and the bite is poisonous, you can die.
5. Pay Attention to the Wound as it Heals
Even if you're cleared to go home, do yourself a favor and pay attention to the wound. This will include:
- Noting pain increases
- Viewing any oozing
- Experiencing an increase in symptoms
Pay close attention to the wound to ensure that infection doesn't set in. If you find that infection does occur, you'll want to seek medical attention again.
6. Drink Plenty of Fluids as You Heal
Since you're healing, you'll want to drink as much fluids as you can. An uptick in water will keep you hydrated and work to speed up the healing process. Try and avoid caffeine for the time being, as you may suffer from heart rate increases already.
And in any of these circumstances, you'll want to look up your local emergency number or go to the emergency room now.
Some of the most common venomous snakes and their bites are:
1. Rattlesnake Bites
Rattlesnakes make a distinct rattle with their tail, and they're one of the most common North American snakes to attack. Found resting on rocks and logs, these snakes are found all across the U.S., and individual symptoms include:
- Severe pain
- Excessive thirst
- Low blood pressure
2. Water Moccasins or Cottonmouth Snake Bites
A type of pit viper, the water moccasin, or cottonmouth, has a white lined mouth that looks like cotton. Spanning 50" to 55" in length, these snakes are big and found in the southeastern portion of the U.S. near bodies of water.
These snakes will cause a victim to suffer from:
- Low blood pressure
- Immediate pain
- Skin color changes
3. Copperheads Bites
Copperhead snakes are beautiful, but they're also deadly. Featuring a length of 18" to 36", these snakes are found in forests and rocky areas, and while not aggressive, they'll attack when threatened. The symptoms of a copperhead bite are the same as a cottonmouth bite:
- Low blood pressure
- Immediate pain
- Skin color changes
4. Coral Snake Bites
Coral snakes are very beautiful with bands of black, red and yellow, but they're also highly deadly. These snakes often live underground or like to spend their time under leaf piles, but when they bite, you need to get first aid and medical attention immediately.
The symptoms of a coral snake bite are:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Skin color change
- Stomach pains
But when these snakes bite, the snake venom increases slowly, with symptoms only exhibiting after hours have passed.
7 Don't When Bitten
We’ve talked about what to do in case of a snake bite, but let’s talk more about what not to do.
1. Do Not Attempt to Capture the Snake
If you do this, you will risk getting another bite. Just memorize its colors, length and other helpful hints to identify it. After all, you don’t need to physically have it with you when you go to the hospital.
2. Do Not Drink Caffeinated Beverages
They may increase your heart rate or cause you to become dehydrated.
3. Do Not Wait
Seek medical attention immediately - whether you see symptoms or not as well as whether you feel pain or not. Even if there’s no swelling, redness, numbness, or shortness of breath, seek medical attention as soon as possible if you’ve been bitten.
This is because symptoms could be delayed.
4. Do Not Drink Alcohol
This can impair your senses and make getting real help more difficult.
5. Do Not Use a Tourniquet
They have done this in movies, but you are unfortunately not in a movie. It is, in fact, dangerous to do this.
6. Do Not Apply Ice or Submerge the Wound in Water
Without a doubt, the wound will be painful and it might even feel as if it is burning, but do not ice it.
7. Do Not Cut the Wound with a Knife
You may think this is the right move in order to reduce swelling, pus, or venom. However, it’s not, so you shouldn’t do it.
All of these things may either exacerbate the movement of venom through your bloodstream or it will cause further damage. Many of these things have been done in movies or television shows to “combat” venom spreading, but that is fiction.