You're hiking with a friend and then as you step over a tree log a snake beneath bites your leg. One thought races through your mind, 'If you get bitten by a snake, suck out the venom.’' Terrified, you turn to your friend, but he replies, 'No way! Then we'll both die.' Is he right?
Most likely, your friend wouldn't die. But if he has an open wound in his mouth, the venom could enter his bloodstream, which is no help to either of you. So, venom sucking isn't a solution.
To understand how to treat snakebites, you need to know the difference between poisons and venoms. Poisons are toxic, in other words dangerous, if you swallow or smell them. Venoms, on the other hand, are only toxic if they get into soft tissues and the bloodstream.
So, if you suck the venom out of a snake bite, you won't be affected. But that doesn't mean you should do it! Experts now strongly advise against it. Why? Venom enters the bloodstream extremely quickly, and trying to suck it out is ineffective because it’s faster than your reaction. The best way to prevent the venom from quickly moving through the bloodstream is to remain calm, and avoid doing anything that would increase the heart rate.
So what else should we do? Well, be aware of what snakes are in the place you are walking in. That way you will have an idea which ones are dangerous.