Every year, an estimated 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes, some of them deadly. A Texas teenager died earlier this week after police say he was bitten by a cobra. If a venomous snake or deadly spider bit you, would you know what to do?
On Friday, Lieut. Lisa Wood, a snake expert with Miami Dade Fire Rescue's Venom Response Unit, helped TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen share do's and don'ts that could save a life when seconds count:
- DO take your jewelry off. "You don't want that swelling to come and things to be stuck," Wood explained.
- DON'T try to suck out the venom. "The venom is too deep in there — you're not going to get it out," Wood said. "And if there is some venom on the surface and you get that in your mouth, now you've got venom inside you too."
- DON'T try to cut the bite out. "That's just going to do more damage," Wood warned.
- DON'T put ice or a cold compress on the bite. "Ice is going to do more damage as well," Wood said.
- DO keep the affected limb level with the heart as you wait for rescue. "If you lower the limb, its going to hurt more and swell more. And if you put it too high up, that's going to cause more circulation of the venom," Wood sail. "Neutral is best ... get in a position of comfort if you can and wait for rescue."