Each year in North America there are around 8000 recorded snake bites and between 1 and 5 of these bites results in death, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Thanks to awareness, prevention tactics and modern antivenin treatments, there aren’t more deaths from venomous snakes in North America.
If you’re taking a hike or going on a camping trip with your friends, the last thing you want is your journey to be cut short by you or one of your friends not being able to identify a venomous snake and falling victim of its deadly bite.
Although the majority of snakes you’ll come across aren’t venomous, it is essential to be able to tell the difference, especially with suspicious look-a-likes.
All in all, North America is home to over 20 different species of venomous snakes, coming under four main categories: copperheads, coral snakes, rattlesnakes and cottonmouth.
With possible skin grafts required, tissue destruction and pain lasting for days, you’ll definitely want to learn how to identify which snakes are poisonous and how to deal with the situation if you find yourself face to face with one.
*note that some recent research suggests placing pressure on a snake bite is not effective and in some cases, may cause more damage. Having said that, the Australian government website states that light pressure is effective, but cutting off the circulation will be harmful.
How to Prevent a Snake Bite
It’s a simple fact; prevention is much better than having to treat a venomous snake bite.
The first thing we recommend is that you research the area you’re adventuring. Once you know which snake will be there, you can take the right precautions.
A simple understanding of snake behaviour will also help you. Snakes love to hide under rocks and logs, so make sure that you are careful where you step. They enjoy staying hidden in long grass, where there is little danger for them.
Protective Snake Clothing
As well as understanding snakes, you can wear protective clothing like the best snake chaps, snake bite proof boots and snake gaiters. Clothing to prevent snake bites gives you peace of mind you when you’re in snake territory.
Although wearing these are super effecting in stopping a bite, you still need to know a bit more about avoiding snakes completely. Another common place to be bitten is your hand or wrist.
We wrote this guide on how to prevent a snake bite, which is a good starting point for you.
Snake Bite Kits
Snake bite kits are thought of by many people as a home remedy to venomous snake bites. Essentially, a snake bite kit is a suction device which is designed to extract the venom from the wound.
Unfortunately, research shows that these snake bite kits are ineffective in removing venom from bite wounds. Medical experts are in fact concerned that people may use these devices in an attempt to avoid treatment costs.
Research shows that the extractor devices remove almost no venom at all and, in some cases, can actually cause more harm than good. This is largely due to the suction concentrating the venom in one small area and damaging tissue.