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Snake Bites

Facts about snake bites:

Each year in the US, there are about 45,000 snakebites. About 7,000 of these bites are from poisonous snakes. Even a bite from a non-poisonous snake can cause infection or allergic reaction in some people. Most snakebites occur during afternoon and evening hours in summer months. Bites on the arms and legs account for more than 90 percent of snakebites. Poisonous snakebites result in less than 10 deaths per year, which is about one-quarter of the number that die from bee stings.

People who frequent wilderness areas, camp, hike, picnic, or live in snake-inhabited areas should be aware of the potential dangers posed by venomous snakes. These people should:

What snakes cause poisonous bites?

Only about 5 percent, or roughly 25 species of snakes in the US are poisonous. The most common poisonous snakebites are caused by the following snakes:

Rattlesnake bites cause most of the poisonous bites in the US. Coral snakes cause less than 1 percent of poisonous snakebites.

What are the symptoms of pit viper bites?

The following are the most common symptoms of pit viper bites. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

What are the symptoms of coral snake bites?

The following are the most common symptoms of coral snake bites. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Treatment for poisonous snake bites:

Remain calm and reassure your child that you can help. Specific treatment for a snake bite will be determined by your child's physician. Treatment may include:

Once in the hospital, treatment may include the use of antivenin (an antidote to snake venom). Treatment may also include lab work, pain or sedation medications, tetanus booster, antibiotics, and supportive care.

Preventing snake bites:

Some bites, such as those inflicted when your child accidentally step on a snake in the woods, are nearly impossible to prevent. However, there are precautions that can reduce your child's chances of being bitten by a snake. These include:

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Common Childhood Injuries & Poisonings


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