Our warm tropical weather allows for residents to explore and enjoy the great Florida outdoors. However, our warm climate makes for snakes inhabiting Florida also become more active, increasing your chances of encountering one when spending time outside. Therefore, is it increasingly important you know how to identify a snake bite, and how to treat one in the unlikely event that you or another is bitten.
Fortunately, snake bites are very rare and the effects of them are almost never fatal, occurring six times per year in the United States, on average. Furthermore, only six of the 50 species of snakes found in Florida are venomous, so the chances of serious injury from a snake bite are likewise very low. It is still very important you are able to identify a snake bite so you can properly treat them. Snake bites are characterized by the following signs and symptoms:
· A pair of puncture wounds, caused by the snake’s fangs
· Pain at site of wound
· Redness and swelling near wound
· Difficulty breathing, excessive sweating and salivating
· Blurred vision, numbness is face or limbs
· Fatigue and droopy eyelids
· Change in skin color, paleness
If you or another experience any of these symptoms, it is important that you administer medical care as quickly as possible. Even though it is unlikely a venomous snake has bitten you, you should treat the snake bite as if it is venomous to err on the side of caution. The following steps should be taken in the event of a snake bite:
· Distance the bite victim from the snake while remaining calm and making deliberate movements
· Call 911 for medical attention, especially if species of snake is known to be venomous
· Write down time of bite and type of snake, if it identifiable
· Keep the bite victim as still as possible. Bodily movements cause the venom to travel through the blood stream more quickly
· Prevent bite victim from walking, carry the victim if necessary
There are many first aid techniques believed to be beneficial in treating snake bites but are, in fact, counterproductive. When aiding a snake bite victim, do not:
· Use a tourniquet to apply pressure
· Use a cold compress on the wound
· Attempt to suck the venom out of wound by mouth or with a suction device
· Give the victim any medication unless advised by physician
Snake bites are very uncommon, but it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of a bite, and how to treat them to ensure a safe, fun summer in the Florida outdoors.
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