First Aid – Snake Bite

1. Reassure the victim.
Most people who are bitten by a snake are terrified. However, few snake bites are fatal, even those by snakes that are dangerously venomous, as long as the bitten person stays calm. Panicking will increase the speed at which the venom travels through the body, which increases the risk.

2. Immobilise the bitten limb with a splint or sling.
Moving the arm or leg will help pump the venom in to the rest of the body, so increasing the risk.

3. Get the victim to medical aid as quickly as possible.

4. Do not do anything that may increase the risk.
Avoid harmful measures, such as sucking the wound, making incisions, giving potassium permanganate crystals.

5. As a general rule, do not apply tourniquets.
Except in the case of sea snakes, and dangerously neuro-toxic species, such as cobras, mambas, kraits, coral snakes, or Australian elapids. If applying a tourniquet, use a cotton stretch bandage, or similar, over a splint on the whole bitten limb. Do not apply a pressure pad over the wound or a classic tight tourniquet above the wound. No tourniquet should be left in place for more than two hours.

6. Give paracetamol to relieve pain.
NEVER give aspirin, as it can increase bleeding.

7. If snake has been killed, take it to the hospital or dispensary.
But do not handle it with your bare hands, even if it appears dead – stunned snakes can suddenly come round and are likely to bite again.

8. If you have antivenom, take it with you to the hospital or dispensary.

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