• What to do if you’re bitten by a snake

    More than two dozen species of snakes make their home in California. Several of the snakes you might see in the San Jose area are venomous, including the Western diamondback rattlesnake and Mojave Desert sidewinder. A bite from a snake that might be venomous is a serious problem that requires emergency care. In San Jose, the emergency care team at Good Samaritan Hospital is fully equipped to handle all medical emergencies, including snake bites .

    Remain calm

    As frightening as a snake bite can be, it’s important to stay calm. After getting away from the snake, remain as still as possible. Excessive movement can encourage the spread of venom through your body .

    Take a picture of the snake

    When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear from an emergency care physician at Good Samaritan Hospital. He explains that it’s a good idea to take a picture of the snake, but warns against putting yourself in further danger. If you can’t safely take a picture, skip this step and instead try to remember what the snake looks like.

    Seek emergency care

    If you aren’t sure whether the snake is venomous, it’s best to err on the side of caution and seek emergency care. Call 911 instead of trying to drive to the hospital. Snake venom can compromise your ability to drive safely, such as by causing the following symptoms:

    • Dizziness

    • Vision disturbances

    • Numbness

    • Vomiting

    • Breathing problems

    Initiate first aid for the snake bite

    While you’re waiting for the ambulance, you can sit or lie down. However, it’s important to keep the bitten body part below the level of your heart. If you have a clean, dry cloth or bandage, you can cover the bite.

    Know what not to do after a snake bite

    Knowing what not to do for a snake bite is just as important as knowing what to do. Do not do any of the following:

    • Don’t apply a tourniquet

    • Don’t suck out the venom

    • Don’t apply ice

    • Don’t soak the wound in water

    • Don’t consume alcohol or caffeinated beverages

    If you have any doubts about what you should or shouldn’t do, the 911 dispatcher can help you.