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Health Tip: After a Snake Bite

Get medical help immediately

(HealthDay News) -- Most snakes are not poisonous, and don't typically bite unless provoked. But if you or a loved one is bitten and aren't sure if the snake is poisonous, the National Library of Medicine suggests:

  • Seek medical help immediately. Stay calm and still, and keep the bite at a level below the heart. If the snake is venomous, this will reduce venom in the blood flow to the heart.
  • Remove any jewelry such as rings or watches, as the area around the bite may begin to swell.
  • Check vital signs, including pulse, temperature, breathing rate and blood pressure. If the bite begins to swell and change color, it could be a poisonous snake.
  • Don't waste time looking for the snake. You don't want to risk another bite trying to trap it or kill it.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet or a cold compress to the bite.
  • Do not attempt to suck out the venom with your mouth, or cut into the wound with a knife or razor.
  • Do not administer any medication without a doctor's instruction.
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