Emergency Room Dr. shares secrets of snakebite treatment

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Thanks to the proximity of modern hospitals, snakebites are no longer as dangerous as they once were. "Nowadays, the resources are there, and the system for emergency is in place to make things efficient and rapid to help take care of someone," said Dr. David Bohorquez.

He is the head of the emergency room at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

Most emergency rooms are properly equipped to deal with a bite, and follow the same general procedures. "Most hospitals have some anti-venom, and if they don't they are able to transfer the patient to a facility that does," said Dr. Bohorquez.

Even though you won't wait as long for help to arrive, there are still steps you can take, and some to avoid, to avoid making an already bad situation, worse.

"First thing you should do is call 9-1-1, and get to the hospital as quickly as possible," said Dr. Bohorquez.

While you're waiting for help to arrive, constrict the wound, keeping a tight brace on the area, about ten centimeters away from the bite. Be careful to avoid cutting off the blood supply completely, which will only make the situation worse.

Don't ice the wound; the cold will just drive the poison into the skin. Finally, keep the bite below your heart. This will restrict blood flow. The higher the blood flow, the faster the venom spreads.

While doctors do encourage victims to care for the wound, under no circumstances, should you try and remove it yourself.

"Absolutely not, you do not want to cut or suck, or do any of that stuff. That's purely going to cause more problems for the patient, and spread the toxin into the human body," said Dr. Bohorquez.

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