What To Do If You Get Bitten By A Snake
Snakes often bite their prey as a method of hunting and as a defense against predators. While most snakes are not venomous, some carry venom that can cause painful injury or even death. The outcome of snakebites depends on the species of snake, the area of the body bitten, the amount of venom injected, and the health condition of the person bitten. When someone has been bitten by a snake, seek medical assistance as quickly as possible.
WHAT TO DO:
Get the victim away from the snake Bring the victim to a safe place. Your priority is to make sure that neither you nor the victim receives any additional snakebite.
Remove clothing or constricting items Remove any rings, bracelets, boots or other restricting items from the bitten area. Bites from venomous snakes can cause rapid and severe swelling.
If the victim has to walk out, let the person sit calmly for 20-30 minutes. This is to let the venom localize at the site.
The following procedure is provided by St Johns Ambulance regarding snake bites.
1. Follow DRSABCD – Information on First Aid DRSABCD click here
2. Reassure the patient and ask them not to move.
3. Apply a broad crepe bandange over the bite site as soon as possible.
4. Apply a pressure bandange (heavy crepe or elasticised roller bandage) starting just above the fingers or toes of the bitten limb, and move upwards on the limb as far as can be reached (include the snake bite). Apply firmly without stopping blood supply to the limb.
5. Immobilise the bandaged limb with splints.
6. Ensure the patient does not move.
7. Write down the time of the bite when the bandage was applied. Stay with the patient.
8. Regularly check circulation in the fingers and toes.
9. Manage for shock.
10. Ensure an ambulance has been called.
1. Do not wash the venom off the skin.
2. Do not cut the bite. The additional tissue damage may actually increase the diffusion of the toxins throughout the body.
3. Do not apply a tourniquet as it can result in loss of limb.
4. Do not raise the site of the bite above the level of the person's heart.
5. Do not try to suck out the venom by the mouth. Use the suction cup in a snakebite kit.
6. Do not apply cold or ice packs as it can worsen the injury
7. Do not give the person stimulants or pain medications unless a doctor tells you to do so.
8. Do not try to capture the snake, but keep its color and shape in mind so you can describe it, which can help the person's treatment.
Knowing the first aid for snakebites can save a victim from a more serious condition.
The above information is provided in good faith as being correct at the time of publishing, it is to be considered as a guide only. If you an unsure, please check with St John's Ambulance or your local medical practioner regarding the latest proceedures regarding snake bite first aid.