Seek immediate emergency medical treatment. Wrap ice in a washcloth or similar material and place it on the bite area. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then off for 10 minutes. Repeat this process. If the person has circulatory problems, decrease the time that the ice is on the area to prevent possible skin damage.
Determine the following information:
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms may be treated with a variety of therapies, including:
In severe cases, antivenin medication to reverse the effect of the poison will be given. However, this drug can cause serious allergic reactions and must be used carefully.
Severe symptoms usually start to improve within 2 to 3 days, but milder symptoms may persist for several weeks. Death in a normally healthy individual is very rare. Young children, the extremely ill, and the elderly may not survive a bite.
Collier BR, Riordan WP Jr, Nagy RJ, Morris JA Jr. Wilderness trauma, surgical emergencies, and wound management. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 20.
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