In the United States, 7,000-8,000 people are bitten by a venomous snake each year, out of which approximately 5 die. Although common practice is to treat any and all victims of envenomation with repeated doses of antivenom, this approach is not without its risks. The gold standard for treating venomous snakebites with severe symptoms is antivenom. Although a standardized approach to treating envenomation is needed, it cannot be developed without first delineating current practices. This article discusses the ways in which advanced practice emergency nurses should manage bites from a variety of venomous snakes. It is divided into 4 main sections: (1) the types of venomous snakes found in the United States, their habitat, and the effects of their venom; (2) priorities of care in treating venomous snakebites; (3) preparation and administration of antivenom; and (4) other considerations for the advanced practice emergency department nurse.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine