Snake Bite, How To Provide First Aid?

Armen Hareyan's picture

Recently we saw Jimmy Kimmel snake bite video on a live TV during a Kimmel's show, while many people questioned it, the issue remains, how to provide first aid or treatment for snake bite when in the same situation like Jimmy Kimmel.

A poisonous snake was brough into the studio during a live talk show on a national TV and during the presentation Jimmy Kimmel is bit by snake. The ambulance comes and immediately gives him the first aid and takes Mr. Kimmel out of the studio to be treated from a snake bite.

John Henkel has published a very interesting paper on how to treat a snakebite in FDA's site. He writes the following:

First Aid for Snakebites

Over the years, snakebite victims have been exposed to all kinds of slicing, freezing and squeezing as stopgap measures before receiving medical care. Some of these approaches, like cutting into a bite and attempting to suck out the venom, have largely fallen out of favor.


"In the past five or 10 years, there's been a backing off in first aid from really invasive things like making incisions," says Arizona physician David Hardy, M.D., who studies snakebite epidemiology. "This is because we now know these things can do harm and we don't know if they really change the outcome."

Many health-care professionals embrace just a few basic first-aid techniques. According to the American Red Cross, these steps should be taken:

  • Wash the bite with soap and water.

  • Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart.

  • Get medical help.

"The main thing is to get to a hospital and don't delay," says Hardy. "Most bites don't occur in real isolated situations, so it is feasible to get prompt [medical care]." He describes cases in Arizona where people have caught rattlesnakes for sport and gotten bitten. "They waited until they couldn't stand the pain anymore and finally went to the hospital after the venom had been in there a few hours. But by then, they'd lost an opportunity for [effective treatment]," which increased the odds of long-term complications. Some medical professionals, along with the American Red Cross, cautiously recommend two other measures:

  • If a victim is unable to reach medical care within 30 minutes, a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, may help slow venom. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. A good rule of thumb is to make the band loose enough that a finger can slip under it.

  • A suction device may be placed over the bite to help draw venom out of the wound without making cuts. Suction instruments often are included in commercial snakebite kits.

When watching the Jimmy Kimmel snake bite video it is clearly seen that his actions may have attracted snake's attention. Writing about avoiding snake bites John Henkel in the same research paper says the following "Leave snakes alone. Many people are bitten because they try to kill a snake or get a closer look at it."