The venom of the cottonmouth snake is known to be considerably potent, and therefore, its bite leaves a person with terrible pain, numbness, swelling, and gradual paralysis of the affected area.
The cottonmouth snake (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is a venomous snake that is mostly found in southern and mid-western United States. It isn’t really surprising that the cottonmouth is known to be highly venomous; after all, it is a member of the notorious pit viper family. (It is often confused with its relative, the copperhead snake.) The cottonmouth is also known by other common names, like swamp moccasin, water moccasin, and black moccasin. Its bite can be lethal as its venom is known to be highly potent.
In the event of a snakebite, the first thing to do is to identify the snake by its geographical range (i.e., the likelihood of finding the species in a particular region) and physical appearance. As for cottonmouths, for instance, they are mostly found in the wetland and marshy regions of southern and mid-western United States. They measure approximately 48 inches in length and have a triangular head. Presence of dark and light bands all over their body is a characteristic feature.
Moreover, you will find that their mouth looks like a cotton ball when open (from which they derive their common name) and their stomach is more or less yellow in color. Additionally, you also need to look out for symptoms of snakebite, which―in the case of cottonmouth―range from pain to localized paralysis.
Usually, cottonmouth snakebite causes temporary paralysis in the affected area. If a person is bitten in the leg, the said limb will remain paralyzed until the wound completely heals. In some cases though, the bite is so serious that muscles lose coordination and the brain is also affected. Recovery from such a condition is very difficult. In such cases, the wound needs to be treated immediately and followed up with proper muscle coordination treatment.
A sharp pain is felt at the site of the bite followed by tingling sensation and numbness. The venom gradually spreads to other parts of the body, and so does the pain. Pain is also accompanied by severe swelling as body fluids start accumulating in the site of the wound. The punctured site turns red and heavy itching is experienced. Hands and limbs swell, and the symptoms quickly spread to other parts of the body. In such circumstances, experts suggest that the person’s clothes should be made loose or removed.
Sometimes venomous snakebites cause septic shock to the body that can be fatal. The shock will be more dangerous than the venom itself if a person has very weak immune system. Chills and shivers are vigorous in cases where the venom has spread completely inside the blood, tissues, and every part of the body, thus resulting in collapse of the system. The person also experiences rapid heartbeat, high pulse rates, and thirst. Weakness, nausea, respiratory trouble, skin discoloration, and vomiting are also some of the symptoms experienced by a person bitten by a cottonmouth.
The first and foremost thing that you should do is, stay immobile to prevent the venom from spreading to other parts of the body. Clasp the site of bite to allow the venom remain confined in that particular area or else wrap a piece of cloth just above it, tightly. Rush to the nearby medical center to get the first aid. At the medical facility, the venom will be sucked with the help of a venom extractor, which will provide the person considerable relief. Recovery takes longer if the treatment is delayed, as the venom disperses in the entire body by then.
If you are a regular visitor of the most probable dwelling places of cottonmouth snakes then take the necessary precautions to prevent from imminent dangers. Try not to irritate the species or provoke them.