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 Emergency & First Aid: Animal Bites: First Aid for Animal Bites - Emergency Conditions 
 

Was the bite from an animal that lives in the wild or a pet that has not been immunized against rabies?

Was the bite or sting from a poisonous snake, spider, etc. or do any of these problems occur?

  • Fainting. Feeling lightheaded.
  • Confusion.
  • Seizures.
  • Feeling restless or dizzy.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Painful cramps and muscle stiffness in the abdomen, shoulders, chest, and/or back.
  • Fever. Chills. Heavy sweating.
  • Nausea. Vomiting.
  • (Note: Give first aid as needed.)

    Was the bite over a joint and does it cause painful movement?

    Do you have a fever, pus, or increased swelling and/or redness 24 or more hours after the animal bite?

    Self-Care / First Aid

    For Poisonous Snake Bites Before Medical Care

  • Carefully move the person away from the snake. Calm the person. Have him or her rest. Moving about can help spread the venom.
  • Gently wash the bite area with soap and water. Keep the limb of the bite site level with the heart (or just below this). Apply a splint to the limb of the bite site to keep it from moving.
  • Being careful, note, if you can, the shape of the snakes eyes, pupils, and head, the colors it is, and if it has rattles.
  • Don't try to kill the snake, cut the fang mark, or suck out the venom.
  • Don't apply a tourniquet, a bandage, or ice to the bite.

  • For Non-Poisonous Snake Bites

  • Gently wash the site with soap and water.
  • Treat the bite as a minor wound. (See For Minor Cuts and Scrapes.)
  • If you notice signs of an infection, call your doctor.

  • For Poisonous Spider Bites Until Emergency Care Arrives

  • Perform rescue breathing, if needed. (See Rescue Breath.)
  • If you can, keep the bitten area lower than the level of the heart.
  • Calm the person and keep him or her warm.
  • Gently clean the site of the bite with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
  • Put an ice pack over the bite site for pain relief.
  • If you can, catch the spider in a closed container to show what kind it is.

  • For Poisonous Spider and Scorpion Bites Before Medical Care

  • Do rescue breathing, if needed.
  • If you can, keep the bitten area lower than the level of the heart.
  • Calm the victim and keep him or her warm.
  • Gently clean the site of the bite with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
  • Put an ice pack over the bite site to relieve pain.
  • If you can, catch the spider in a closed container to show the doctor.
  • Get emergency care!
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