Snakebites! with Dr. Spencer Greene (@ToxSpencer)

Snakebites are a common patient encounter for #EMS here in Texas, though virtually all states have venomous snakes of one kind or another.

Dr. Spencer Greene (@ToxSpencer) walks us through some pearls and pitfalls of caring for these patients.


“Dry bites” are very uncommon.

Most victims are not drunk young males that are intentionally messing with wildlife. Most are people who didn’t even know the snake was there.

Don’t mess with wildlife.

Snakes are not aggressive. They want to be left alone. Admire from a distance. If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone.

Do NOT bring the snake to the ER. Taking a picture of it might be helpful.

Any bruising or swelling from a snakebite indicates envenomation and should be treated aggressively.

For crotalid bites (rattlesnake, copperhead, cottonmouth), raise the affected limb to reduce pain and swelling.

For elapid (coral snake) bites, keep the limb level.

No extractors, no sucking out the venom, none of that silliness.

No tourniquets or constricting bands or pressure dressings. Applying these items may cause more tissue damage and pain.

Snakebites are painful. Treat the pain.

Watch here on YouTube:https://youtu.be/WGjy_mBsZD4

From the City of Austin, TX, this is the Austin/Travis County EMS System Office of the Medical Director channel. We will talk all things prehospital care here. It will be informative, it will be fun, it will be very poorly edited and not rehearsed.

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