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Snake Bite

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What do I need to know about a snake bite?

Most snakes are not venomous. Some snakes inject venom that can act as a poison in your body. Even venomous snakes often bite without injecting venom. The venom may cause severe skin and tissue damage after several hours or days. A snake bite is a serious condition and can be life-threatening.

What are the signs and symptoms of a snake bite?

Signs and symptoms may be mild to severe. You may not feel anything at first. You may have any of the following minutes to hours after you were bitten:

How is a snake bite diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask where and when you were bitten. Tell him or her if you know what kind of snake bit you, or describe it. Your provider will closely look at your injury. He or she will check the area around it. He or she may press your skin in the groin or armpit to feel your lymph nodes. Your provider may measure around your bitten limb more than 1 time to check the amount of swelling. He or she may order blood or urine tests to look for signs that the snake venom is causing injury.

How is a snake bite treated?

What should I do if a snake bites me?

How can I prevent a snake bite?

Snake bites are most common when the weather is warm. Snakes are more active in warm weather, and people spend more time outdoors. Snakes bite to defend themselves when they feel threatened. This usually occurs when the snake is not moving and not seen, or is hidden by plants. The following can help you prevent a snake bite:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Where can I find more information?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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