Why You Should Never Suck Venom Out of a Snake Bite

Green Snake

We’ve seen it over and over in cowboy movies – someone gets bitten by a snake, and the person with them sucks the venom out of the victim and saves his life. But this is fiction. The truth is that you should never attempt to suck the venom out of a snake bite. There are more helpful things to do for snakebite victims.

Know How to React

When you are bitten by a snake, the last thing you should do is suck the venom from the bite. The venom delivered from a snakebite travels so quickly to the body’s lymphatic system that there really is no way that you will suck enough venom out of the wound to make a difference.

However, what you could do by attempting to suck the venom out is make the snakebite even worse. Sucking on a snakebite can cause further tissue damage in the victim. Additionally, the human mouth is full of bacteria that can be introduced to the wound and increase the wound’s risk of infection

Even the tourniquets that we’ve been told help to stop the venom from spreading are useless. All a tourniquet does is cut off blood flow and increase the possibility of losing a limb due to high venom concentrations in that area.

See precautions for and treatments of snakebites here: 

What to REALLY do in the Case of a Snakebite

All you should do when you or someone you are with is bitten by a snake is seek medical advice. It’s that simple. Stay calm and get to a hospital immediately. Most snakebites are not fatal. So, contrary to popular belief, there is no need for venom-sucking and tourniquet building heroics – just get to a hospital as fast as possible!

Knowledge is Everything

Not everything we see in movies translates to real life, and it’s important to know the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to things that affect our health. Now you know that, when faced with a snakebite, all you need are some deep breaths and a doctor.

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