Immediate Steps to Take When a Child Has a Snake Bite

Getting bitten by a snake can be terrifying for kids and parents alike. Although snakes prefer to avoid contact with humans, they will bite if provoked or inadvertently stepped on. If a snake bites your child, stay calm and seek emergency pediatric care right away. Follow these steps to get your child the care he or she needs.

Try to Identify the Snake

If it is safe, try to identify the snake that bit your child. Knowing this information can help the emergency physician decide what kind of treatment is appropriate. Familiarize yourself with the snakes that are in your area, particularly the venomous ones. Texas is home to rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths, and coral snakes. If possible, snap a picture of the snake with your phone. However, never delay treatment to locate the snake, and don't approach the snake to get a better look. The snake will already be agitated and may strike again.

Remain Calm

Your child will look to you to determine how upset to be, so remain calm. If your child becomes anxious, venom will circulate throughout his or her body more quickly. Keep your child relaxed, with the area of the bite still and held below the heart. Remove tight clothing or anything else that could be restricting swelling. Avoid giving your child anything to eat or drink, and never attempt to suck out the poison.

Get Emergency Care

Treat every snakebite as though it is venomous and get emergency pediatric care right away. Antivenin needs to be given as promptly as possible, when necessary. Your child may also need medicine to prevent infection and control pain. Ideally, antivenin should be provided within four hours of a bite.

Pediatrics After Hours is here to provide emergency care when your child needs it the most, including hospital transfers when needed. From acute injuries to urgent care for illnesses, we're here to give care when your child's doctor's office is closed. You can learn more about the services we offer at our four urgent care locations in the DFW area by calling (214) 363-7242.

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