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Treat Snake Bite

Patient Care for Snake and Reptile Bites

  • STOP - Assess and observe the scene; Is the venomous creature nearby?

  • NOTE: Some snakes may bite more than once; Protect yourself and treat all snake bites as potentially lethal

  • THINK - Consider your safety and form action plan; Can it reach me or the patient?

  • ACT - Check responsiveness and Alert EMS as appropriate


  • Perform a primary assessment and monitor the patient's Cycle of Care AB-CABS

  • If the patient shows signs of severe allergic reaction, treat appropriately; Once EMS has been contacted, obtain and follow local medical control directions for field treatment before their arrival

  • Keep the patient still and at rest; Unless directed to do otherwise, avoid cleaning the wound as saliva from the snake may help EMS to identify the type of snake

  • If EMS is delayed or unavailable, you must transport the patient; Administration of antivenom is the only effective treatment for poisonous snake bites; Therefore prompt transport to a medical facility is very important; Carry the patient if possible or have them walk slowly

  • Place direct pressure on the wound with a sterile dressing, pad or gloved hand

  • For snake bites, apply a pressure immobilization bandage around the entire length of the bitten extremity. This is an effective and safe way to slow the dissemination of venom. Care must be taken to ensure the pressure bandage is not too tight. You should be able to slide a finger under the bandage

  • Continue to monitor the patient's Cycle of Care until EMS arrives or during the transportation of the patient to the nearest medical facility