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10 Emergency Medical Procedures That Can Be Done on the Fly


6
Treating a Snake Bite
No need to suck out the venom from a snake bite — get to a hospital instead. © 2016 HowStuffWorks, a division of Infospace LLC
No need to suck out the venom from a snake bite — get to a hospital instead. © 2016 HowStuffWorks, a division of Infospace LLC

In 2015, a very pregnant Jacklyn Caramazza was panic-stricken when her 4-year-old son stepped on a baby rattlesnake that was coiled in the middle of a bike trail. Her son's ankle quickly began to swell and turn purple, so Caramazza sucked at the wound and spit out some venom. Her son survived, but Caramazza was chided because the venom she sucked out might have harmed her or her unborn baby [source: CBS News, Web MD].

For decades, and maybe longer, people were told that if they were bitten by a poisonous snake, they should suck the venom out of the wound immediately to enhance their chances of survival. Today, medical experts say that's a myth. And they actively discourage the practice, which can contaminate the wound or harm nerves and blood vessels in the process. Plus, you typically can't suck out all that much venom anyway. Far better to race to the nearest medical facility which will have anti-venom medication on hand [source: CBS News, Web MD].

If you're more than an hour from a hospital, wrap a bandage 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) above the wound to slow the spread of the venom. However do not make the bandage too tight or it will cut off blood flow. Also, do not take any pain medication which may thin the blood. (Tylenol would be OK but no ibuprofen or aspirin.) Then try to get to a hospital as soon as possible [source: Wild Backpacker].


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