Snake bites are a serious medical emergency in Australia. It is home to some of the most venomous snakes in the world. If you are bitten by a snake, it is important to follow DRSABCD seek medical attention immediately (call 000). Some snake venom can cause serious injury or death if left untreated.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to provide first aid and minimise the risk of further injury.
What do do:
First, try to remain calm and stay still. Moving around can cause the venom to spread more quickly through your body. If you are able to do so safely, try to identify the type of snake that bit you. This information can help medical professionals determine the appropriate treatment.
If the snake bite is on a limb, try to keep the limb immobilised and apply a broad pressure bandage over the bite site as soon as possible to help slow the spread of venom.
Then apply a further elasticised or firm bandage. Start at fingers or toes and move up the limb as far as can be reached. Apply tightly but without stopping blood flow.
If you have a snake bite kit with you, follow the instructions provided. These kits often include a compression bandage, which should be applied over the bite site and left in place until medical help arrives.
If you do not have a snake bite kit, use a clean cloth or bandage to cover the bite site and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
What not to do:
Do not attempt to cut the wound or suck out the venom. This can cause further damage and may even increase the risk of infection. Do not apply a tourniquet or ice to the bite. These measures are no longer recommended as they can cause more harm than good.
It is important to remember that snake bites can be serious and potentially life-threatening. It is always best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are in a remote location, call for help and try to get to a hospital or medical facility as quickly as possible.
By following these guidelines and seeking medical attention promptly, you can greatly improve your chances of making a full recovery from a snake bite. Stay safe and be aware of your surroundings, especially when hiking or exploring in areas where snakes may be present.
Contact Brisbane First Aid to enrol in your Provide First Aid (HLTAID011) course.