Snake bite treatment will generally vary depending on the species of the snake in question and whether or not it is considered venomous. The usual approach is to use an antivenin on the patient and cleanse the wound area. If a snake bite treatment has to be performed in the wild, there are many emergency procedures, but some of them are considered ineffective by many scientists. It is usually important that any snake bite treatment be dealt with immediateley, and getting patients to a hospital is considered a high priority.
Antivenin is made by injecting certain farm animals with snake venom. The animals' immune systems react to the venom and produce the appropriate antibodies. These are harvested and used to treat patients bitten by snakes. The influx of antibodies helps give a jump-start to an individual’s immune system, allowing him to more easily deal with the venom's effects.
Many snakebites occur in places where people can’t get access to immediate medical treatment, such as forests during long hikes or campgrounds. There are many recommended treatments in these situations, including lancing the area of the wound and sucking out the venom. Many companies also offer snakebite kits with various tools for performing first aid on snake bites. In scientific testing, most of these methods have generally proven less effective than many would expect, and some experts now recommend a simpler treatment approach. This might include washing the would area, applying a relatively loose tourniquet, and keeping the limb elevated to heart level if possible.
Different kinds of snakes have very different kinds of venom—the two basic types are hemotoxins and neurotoxins. Most snakes have one or the other, but many have venom with at least some portion of both types. Hemotoxins generally cause tissue damage, and they make people bleed internally by damaging blood vessels, while neurotoxins have the capacity to shut down the nervous system, potentially leading to paralysis and an eventual malfunction of internal organs. Snakes also have different delivery mechanisms for venom, with some injecting it and others simply chewing and allowing it to mix with a person’s blood.
In some cases, people may be bitten by snakes that aren’t considered venomous. These animals can still have dangerous bites for a variety of reasons. For one thing, their saliva can be full of bacteria that can potentially lead to infections. It’s also generally true that many non-venomous species actually have toxins in their saliva that are very similar to other snakes' venom—in some cases, these toxins can cause poisoning symptoms. For these reasons, bites from non-venomous species generally require some kind of snake bite treatment as well, and a visit to the emergency room may be a good idea for most people in this situation.