A Parent’s Guide on Handling Snake Bites in Children
A wide array of snakes can pose a danger to children playing outside. As a parent, it's essential to know how to prevent snake bites, the signs and symptoms to watch for, and what to do if a snake bites you or your child.
How Can Children Get Snakebites?
Snakebites are injuries caused by a bite from a snake. Bites can occur when a child plays outside, walks through tall grass, or goes camping. Most snakebites are from a nonvenomous snake. However, there is always a probability that a venomous snake could bite your child.
That's why it's important to know what to do if a snake bites your child. Even if it wasn't a venomous snake, you need to be prepared if the injury becomes infected or causes other medical problems.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Snakebites in a Child?
Many children with snake bites don't have any symptoms. If your child is bitten, watch for the following symptoms:
- pain or burning sensation in the area of the bite
- swelling, redness, or other signs of inflammation
- bleeding from the area of the bite
- nausea or vomiting
- restlessness and anxiety
- weakness or tiredness
If you see any or all of these symptoms, call your doctor right away.
How to Treat a Snake Bites in Children
1. Remain Calm
If a snake bites your child, do not panic. Remain calm and alert so that you can treat your child correctly.
After composing yourself, remember to keep your child calm as well. This is vital especially since your child may be scared and stressed out after being bitten by a snake. Try to keep them calm until you can get help.
2. Apply Pressure
If a snake bites your child, you must administer first-aid solutions right away. Start by applying pressure to the affected area to stop any bleeding.
3. Rinse the Bite Area and Apply Bandage
After the bleeding stops, rinse the area with warm water right away and apply a bandage on the snakebite area.
If your child is a year old and above, apply a bandage snug enough to keep out foreign matter and insects. However, if your child is younger, use gauze instead to apply pressure to the wound.
4. Watch for Signs of Infection
Watch the bite area for signs of infection, such as redness, tenderness, or swelling that gets worse. In addition, monitor your child for other complications such as a fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, or weakness.
If your child develops these symptoms, take them to the emergency room right away. Sometimes, a doctor may need to suck the venom out of the wound or give your child an antivenom injection.
5. Seek Medical Care
The urgency of reacting to a snake bite will depend on your child’s age. A snake bite to an infant can be very dangerous so you should seek medical care right away if your child is less than a year old.
If your child is five years old and younger, watch for a fever, vomiting, or abdominal pain. Call your doctor right away.
If your child is older than five years old and has no symptoms other than swelling, redness, or tenderness, they may have a stronger resistance to the bite. This means you may be able to wait until seeking professional medical help. However, if your child is in pain, you should act immediately. Head for a doctor or emergency room without delay.
Most snakes are nonvenomous and are not dangerous to humans. Sometimes, a snake bites a human when stepped on or otherwise threatened. Bites from nonvenomous snakes usually cause only a painful wound. It's rare for someone to be severely hurt by a nonvenomous snake.
It's essential to know how to prevent snake bites and treat them if they occur. If a snake bites your child, remember these tips as they are the most crucial first steps in helping your child.
Unfortunately, sometimes the symptoms of a snake bite are so mild that they are overlooked. It's best if you are proactive in checking your child for any injury, insect bite, or animal bite after outdoor activities to ensure their safety. If you notice any of the symptoms provided above, follow the tips we've shared to help you and your child.
Remember, the longer you delay the proper treatment of a snake bite, the more chance it can result in severe infection and even death.
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