COMMON INJURY/POISON :: Bites and Stings
Facts about snake bites:
Each year, approximately 7,000 people receive bites from venomous snakes in the United States. Even a bite from a non-venomous snake can cause infection or allergic reaction in some people. For maximum safety treat all snake bites as if they were venomous and get to a hospital emergency room as quickly as possible, especially if you are unsure of the exact type of snake responsible for the bite.
People who frequent wilderness areas, camp, hike, picnic, or live in snake-inhabited areas should be aware of the potential dangers posed by venomous snakes. These people should:
What snakes are venomous?
Only about 5 percent, or roughly 25 species of snakes in the US are venomous. The most common venomous snakebites are caused by the following snakes:
Rattlesnake bites cause most of the venomous bites in the US. Coral snakes cause less than 1 percent of venomous snakebites.
What are the symptoms of snake bites?
Symptoms will vary depending on the type of snake bite, amount of venom injected, and size and general health of the snake bite victim. Symptoms may include any of the following:
Treatment for venomous snake bites:
Remain calm and reassure your child that you can help. Specific treatment for a snake bite will be determined by your child's physician. Treatment may include:
Once in the hospital, treatment may include the use of antivenin, an antitoxin specific to the venom of a particular animal or insect. Treatment may also include lab work, pain or sedation medications, tetanus booster, antibiotics, and supportive care.
Preventing snake bites:
Some bites, such as those inflicted when your child accidentally step on a snake in the woods, are nearly impossible to prevent. However, there are precautions that can reduce your child's chances of being bitten by a snake. These include:
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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
© Children's Hospital of Orange County