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First Aid 2023

Snake bite: symptoms and what to do

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Snake bite: symptoms and what to do
Snake bite: symptoms and what to do

The most important thing after a snakebite is to keep the bitten limb as still as possible, because the more you move, the more the venom can spread through the body and reach various vital organs. This also applies to any activity that can speed up the heartbeat, as increased blood circulation also spreads the poison.

Thus, ideally, the victim should not walk and be transported by stretcher to the hospital. Another option is to call medical help on 192.


Until you get to the hospital or until medical help arrives, what you should do to improve your chances of being rescued are:

  1. Wash the area with soap and water, to clean the wound and prevent the entry of more poison or microorganisms;
  2. Tie a piece of fabric a few inches above the snakebite site. However, you should not tie it too tight because it can cause more complications, and if more than half an hour has passed since the snake bite, you should not tie it.

Most snakes in Brazil do not have venom and, therefore, the bite is not dangerous for he alth, however, in any case it is always important to go to the hospital to inform the snake's characteristics and confirm and identify if it was really poisonous or not. If you have been bitten by a venomous snake, the antidote for the venom is usually given so that the injuries stop happening.

If it is not possible to transport the snake to the hospital, it is advisable to take note of the main characteristics, such as color, pattern, head shape and size, or take a picture.

What not to do after the bite

There are several popular beliefs about what to do after a snakebite, however it is not advised:

  • Trying to suck the venom out of the bite;
  • Make a tight tourniquet;
  • Cut the bite site;

In addition, you should not apply any type of homemade mixture on the bite, because in addition to not having scientific proof, it can end up causing an infection of the place.

How to know if a snake is poisonous or not

Although it is not a completely effective method, there are some characteristics that can help distinguish a venous snake from a non-venomous, or non-venomous snake. Some of these features include:

Poisonous snake Non-poisonous snake
Triangular and flat head. Narrow and elongated head.
Elongated teeth at the front of the mouth. No elongated or elongated teeth at the back of the mouth.
Slitted eyes, similar to a closed cat's eye. Eyes with circular pupil.
Quickly thinning tail. Tail that gradually thins to the body.
Attempts to attack when pursued. Flees when pursued.

Anyway, it is always important to go to the hospital for a general assessment of vital signs and to ensure that there are no life-threatening changes.

Symptoms of a venomous snake bite

In the case of a venomous snake bite, with venom injection, it is common that, after the pain that arises at the site due to the bite, other symptoms may appear such as:

  • Pain that gets worse over time;
  • Swelling that increases and affects more areas around the bite;
  • Painful tongues in places close to the bite. For example, in the arm, swelling of the armpits may appear, while in the leg, the groin may become inflamed;
  • Blisters on the skin;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Dizziness, feeling generally unwell and fainting.

However, these symptoms can vary according to the species of snake, and there are even some venomous snakes in which the bite does not cause any symptoms. Therefore, it is always important to go to the hospital, even if you suspect that the snake is not really venomous.

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