No matter how cool it may look like in the movies, wilderness survival is no joke. Countless different situations can arise anytime. When you are on a journey with nature, you must keep up with it because you can never predict nature. The realm of the wild is alien to us, the civilized urban-dwellers. So, you have to be careful. You have to look out for any possible threats you may face. One of the most common dangers of the wilderness is getting bitten by snakes. Especially during the spring-summer time, snakes wake up from their winter sleep and increase the chance of crossing the path with you. Yes, you! If you don’t know how to prevent and treat a snakebite, you can fall victim to it any day. So, let’s begin this journey, where I walk you through all there is to know about snake bite survival.
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Wear Appropriate Clothing
Wear clothing like ankle-high boots, pants, long sleeve shirts, etc in the wilderness. That might be tough when the weather is too hot. Just protect yourself as much as possible. Utilize the extra layer of protection from encounters with serpents as well as other harmful insects. Walking barefoot in the wilderness is not an option at all. Always try to stay on trails when hiking. Snakes are found in almost every place hidden from sight. But they tend to stay away from trail paths as they don’t have bushes or other hiding places. That’s why you should always stick to trails. If you are on a journey to the unknown and plan not to follow the trails, you should understand the risks and prepare yourself accordingly.
Do Not Try to Touch a Snake
A snake might look dead in plain sight, even when it isn’t. There are quite a few possibilities here. Snakes tend to follow a clever strategy of tricking their enemy into thinking they are dead or asleep. That makes it easy for them to survive from predators and hunt their prey. There’s even a chance that the serpent is sunbathing. Lastly, it can be dead for real. But you might be stunned to know that freshly dead snakes are as dangerous and lethal as live ones. They still have enough reflex to attack you if you’re not careful. The summary here is, keep away from snakes in all possible cases.
Stop Using Your Hands Here and There to Avoid Snake Bite
When looking or searching for something in the wilderness, try to use hiking sticks instead of hands. You never know what surprise the nature has for you under logs, or in deep grass and dead trees.
Never Try to Make Quick Movements around Snakes to Avoid Snake Bite
If you happen to come across a snake, try to stay calm. Your rapid movement will trigger the snake into attacking you in self-defense.
Sleep Where it’s the Safest to Avoid Snake Bite
When camping in the wild, keep in mind that you’re not alone there – even if you are on a solitary journey. The local inhabitants, including serpents, actually surround you. Avoid sleeping near snake territories like logs, large branches, in tall grass, or rocky areas. You should also remember to zip your tent correctly and take every other necessary precaution.
Wear a Headlamp or Carry a Flashlight at Night
This way, you will be able to see the snake before you have a surprise attack. Solar-powered flashlights might come in handy here. So, try to bring these wilderness survival technologies with you.
After all these precautions and safety checks, you should be protected from snakebites. But as I mentioned earlier, nature is unpredictable. Anything can happen to anyone in the wild. So, you must also be prepared for the worst – snake bite survival. I’ll start with the symptoms of a snakebite.
Depending upon the type of the serpent, the symptoms may vary. The most common symptom is the two-puncture wound. Other symptoms include swelling and redness around the scars, pain at the bite site, vomiting, blurred vision, sweating and salivating, numbness in the face and limbs, etc.
If the bite is from a nonvenomous snake, symptoms include pain and scratches on the spot. But if the bite is from a poisonous snake, there’s severe burning pain on the spot. This pain can lead to swelling and bruises at. The swelling and bruising might even spread rapidly. Other symptoms include weakness, nausea, foul taste in the mouth, etc.
Let’s move on to the most vital topic – how to survive the snake bite. I’ll divide the first aid and survival strategies into two parts: do’s and don’t s.
Call an Ambulance, go to an ER
If you have cell reception, call 911 or the local equivalent emergency service. You can call for an ambulance if you have their number. Tell them your location, when you were bitten, and any current symptoms you can feel or locate.
If you don’t have cell reception, try to map the safest, quickest possible route to find a road. Then start hiking out depending upon your current health condition.
Wash the Wound
If you can then wash it with soap and water. That will be helpful if the bite is from a nonvenomous snake. You should still get medical assistance nonetheless. But if the bite is from a poisonous snake, washing won’t do anything to the poison.
Keep a Snake Bite Kit with You
If you happen to have one then place the suction device over the wound to draw the poison out of the bruise. This is not applicable if you can’t get medical assistance within 1 hour.
Move Beyond the Snake’s Reach
That rules out the possibility of a follow-up attack. Try finding a safe place as soon as possible.
That includes watches, rings, or anything else that could turn into a tourniquet. That might lead to swelling of your limb.
Keep the Bite Beneath the Heart
It will slow down the venom’s flow.
Circle the Bite with the Time You were Bitten Next to it if Possible
That’ll come in handy for the diagnosis and treatment of the bite. Try to be as specific as possible. If the wound spreads, try to keep track of the areas and the time of the spread as well.
Remember as Many Details as Possible
These details could be anything from the snake’s color, length, skin type to its habitat.
Cover the Area Around the Wound
Make sure you cover the areawith a bandage or clean clothing to minimize swelling and discomfort. Keep in mind it should not be too tight. That would increase the swelling for the worse.
Avoid Any Contact with the Wound
This may induce infection, increase absorption of the poison & escalate local bleeding. Contacts include rubbing, massage, applying herbs or any unprescribed chemicals.
Monitor the Vital Signs
Depending upon them, make the best possible decisions instantly.
Inform the Doctor about all your Allergies.
The antivenoms can trigger certain allergies, like an allergy to horses. If the doctor doesn’t know about this beforehand, your treatment can backfire and lead up to other complexities.
Don’t Mess with the Snake
Never think of putting yourself in danger to attack, kill, or try to photograph the snake. That may lead to multiple bites, as seen in many cases.
Don’t Attempt to Suck the Poison out of the Wound or Cut it
These things won’t work and can only be seen in the movies.
Don’t Use Ice on the Bruise.
It can cause tissue or even skin damage.
Don’t Use Medicine
Painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen or any other ones might thin your blood.
Panicking will lead you nowhere. It’ll only increase your blood flow and might do even more damage. As tough as it may seem, keeping calm will raise the chance of your snake bite survival.
Don’t Drink Alcohol, Coffee or Caffeinated Drinks
They increase the heartbeat, which helps the venom to flow with ease everywhere.
Don’t Waste Time
After you get bitten, every second is precious. As time goes by, the venom makes its way into the whole body. So, make use of your time smartly.
Don’t do Anything to the Wound
Make sure you don’t puncture, pinch, or scrape the wound or the surrounding area. That could make things even worse.
Concluding today’s guide on snake bite survival, which is integral for wildlife survival as well. For a journey to the unknown, always try to be prepared. Pack your bag light but efficiently. Utilize wilderness technology by taking as many necessary tools and devices as possible. And of course, try to be as cautious as possible. These preparations, along with all the information mentioned above, will ensure a safe trip for you in the wilderness. May your travel bring contentment in life.