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Course Outline


  • Most doctors agree that the best response to a snakebite is to rush the victim to a hospital emergency room.
    • Do not try to remove poison from snakebites. Cutting and suctioning the bite can do more harm than good.
    • If possible, carry the victim. Do not allow the victim to walk or run because this can increase blood flow and the distribution of venom.
  • Fear and panic aggravate snakebite reactions. Calm the victim as much as possible. Keep the victim in a reclining position to slow the spread of venom. If the bite is on a limb, keep the wound at or below the level of the heart.

Bees, Wasps, and Fire Ants

  • Keep the affected area below the heart.
  • Remove the stinger from the skin in less than five seconds by gently scraping against it with your fingernail, a credit card, or a knife.
  • Apply cold compresses to relieve pain and swelling.
  • If it is difficult for the victim to breathe, call 9-1-1.


  • A scorpion's painful sting can produce:
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Abdominal pain
    • Shock
  • A cold compress will ease some of the pain. Seek medical care in the event of a severe reaction.
  • You can reduce the risk of being bitten if you shake out footwear and bedding before use.


  • Most spiders are harmless. Two species that present a serious problem are the black widow and the brown recluse.
    • The black widow has a shiny, fat, roundish abdomen with a red or orange hourglass marking on the underside.
    • The brown recluse ranges in color from dark brown to tan and has a fiddle-shaped mark from the eyes to the abdomen.
  • A bite from one of these spiders is rarely fatal, but the effect can be painful. Disinfect the wound with rubbing alcohol, apply a cold compress, and get to a doctor as soon as possible.

Gila Monsters

  • Gila monsters are brightly colored, slow-moving lizards that are capable of defending themselves with a venomous bite.
  • The Gila monster's teeth and venom cause considerable pain. They do not inject venom like snakes. Instead, they latch on and chew while releasing a mild venom through the grooves in their teeth.
  • If a bite occurs:
    • Remain calm.
    • Remove the Gila monster quickly by placing a stick between the bite and the back of the lizard's mouth and pushing against the rear of the jaw.
    • Flush the wound with plenty of fresh water and allow to bleed.
    • If bleeding profusely, apply a compress to the wound.
    • Obtain medical assistance.
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