A snakebite is when a snake bites a child. The snake’s venom can be poisonous.
Both venomous and nonvenomous snakes can bite. In the U.S., snakebites most often occur between April and October. Even a bite from a nonvenomous snake can cause an infection or allergic reaction in some children.
The most important thing to remember is to treat all snakebites as if they were venomous. Go to a hospital emergency room as fast as possible.
Snakes usually only bite when provoked. This can happen when a child accidentally steps on a snake.
Only about 25 types of snakes in the U.S. are venomous. The most common venomous snakes are:
Of those, rattlesnake bites cause most of the venomous bites in the U.S.
Symptoms will vary depending on the type of snake, amount of venom injected, and size and general health of the snakebite victim. Symptoms may not appear right away.
Symptoms at or near the bite may include:
Symptoms affecting the body may include:
Healthcare providers will ask many questions and examine your child. It's important to find out what type of snake bit your child. This will help with treatment, especially if your child needs antivenin.
When a snakebite occurs, you should:
Your child's healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for your child. Treatment may include:
If untreated, the following complications may occur:
Some snakebites may be difficult to avoid. But you can take steps to reduce your child's risk. These include:
If your child spends time in wilderness areas such as campgrounds or hiking trails, make sure an adult on hand:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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