Not many people will think about this particular danger when out in the field, but the possibility of a snake bite is definitely something that should be on your mind. There is a lot of countries out there where deadly snakes are common and a bite from one can put you in real danger.
North America has its rattlesnakes, in Asia you will find King Cobra, the Eastern Brown Snake is a problem for Australia and in Africa you will find the Black Mamba.
And these are just the worst ones on each continent, there are several more snakes out there which can cause serious problems for you if you happen to get a bite from them. They can come out of nowhere too.
Snakes have a reputation of being stealthy for a reason. They know how to hide, are fast as lightning and if they feel like you are a threat to them, they will not hesitate to sink their fangs into your skin.
Now while not all snakes are dangerous to humans, you should make sure that you are prepared for an encounter with one. And if you do happen to get bitten, you need to act fast. Here’s a few emergency tips to help in that scenario:
Get Medical Attention ASAP
While a lot of these snakes certainly have the potential to kill humans with a single bite, it does not ever have to be fatal. For every venomous snake out there, there is an antivenom which can neutralise the danger.
And anywhere in the world where there are dangerous snakes, the hospitals nearby will have a supply of the stuff. Unfortunately, you are probably not going to be in a position to get to a hospital if you get bitten while in the field.
This is why it is important for every military medic to have the relevant antivenom’s for the country that they are serving in and be very familiar with the snakes in that area and how to administer the medicine.
This is especially important if you are a significant distance away from any base or medical tent at the time of the bite. And you should make sure that you get to a facility as quickly as you can even after a dose of antivenom. Just so you can be monitored for a while.
Get as Far From the Snake as Possible
Most snakes, even the venomous ones are not going to attack a human for no reason. They have no reason to. Outside of bigger guys like Boa Constrictors and Anacondas, snakes will try to avoid humans.
We are so much bigger then they are that we are not worth killing for food and most of them will actually see us as a threat. They attack if they feel like we are going to attack. And basically any movement from a creature that is much bigger will be seen as aggression.
So if you get bitten, do not try to fight back, just get out of there. You do not need to kill the snake to get rid of the danger, if you leave it will not follow. Put as much distance away from it as you can so it no longer feels threatened.
The snake will then do the same thing and try and distance itself from you. Try and get yourself into an area that is more open, where it is not as easy for a snake to hide, in case there are more of them around.
Once You are Safe, Stop Moving
It is important to get away from the snake as we have just outlined, but once you are at a safe distance then you should stay still. Snake venom kills you by destroying cells and disrupting nerve impulses.
The toxins will not be able to work if they are all centered around the bite. If you are too active, your blood will start pumping and the venom will pump with it, allowing it to spread and affect more of your system.
So you have to try and keep your heart rate low. Sit down and take deep breaths. Try not to panic too much, remember that the venom can be dealt with to try and subdue your fears and just relax your body until the antivenom can be administered.
Again though, if the snake is still around, or if another one shows up, that is the only time that you should move. Another bite will double the amount of venom and that’s more dangerous than getting your blood pumping.
Keep the Bite Covered
Putting pressure on the wound is another effective way to slow down the spread of the venom. If you have got a bandage you can use that but if your medic is not around or just does not have a bandage for whatever reason then tear up a piece of your clothes instead.
This is especially important if you do not have any antivenom at that particular moment and need to get to wait before the antivenom can get to you. Mark the exact area of the bite on whatever you have used to cover it so it can easily be found. Being bitten by a snake is scary, there’s no question about that, but remember that it does not have to be fatal provided you know how to react. Be prepared and you should be able to survive a snake bite with very little consequences.