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First Aid Tip: How to treat a snake bite?
Snake bites are common in Australia. Each year around 3000 to 5000 snakebites a year happen in Australia and they account for 2 death per year. The bites occur around the home as well as out in the bush or other wild areas. Mostly, snakes attacks are a defensive response from people “interfering” with them, but also there is the occasional person who walks out their front door on a rural property to and treads on a snake.
There are 2 different types of snake bite:
Dry Bites: is when the snake strikes but no venom is released. Dry bites are painful and may cause swelling and redness around the area of the snake bite, but do not require antivenomous treatment.
Venomous bites: are when the snake bites and releases venom into a wound.
The symptoms of a venomous bite are a stinging or burning sensation on the skin, feelings of nausea, dizziness, anxiousness and confusion. In severe cases, the bite may result in paralysis or coma.
As it is difficult to assess what type of snake bite it is, always treat any bite as a venomous bite and manage it as a medical emergency.
The signs of a snake bite are usually two puncture wounds on the skin close together or a single or multiple straight scratch/ lacerations and swelling and pain around the bitten area. Other signs include headache, nausea or vomiting, drowsiness, blurred vision, breathing difficulties, cold and pale skin.
As time is of the essence in this cases, knowing what to do and how to provide First Aid can help you to save a life. So here are the 5 things you should do:
- Don’t move the person, rest , calm and reassure them.
- Call 000
- Place a clean dressing over the bite site this will absorb any venom and will help to identify the snake later.
- Bandage: if bitten on a limb, apply a broad pressure bandage around the bite, firmly. Then with a second bandage, start at the fingers or toes and firmly bandage upwards, covering as much as the limb as possible.
- Immobilize the limb with a splint or sling. Mark the bitten area with a pen, dirt or a small snip of the bandage so it can be easily identified by the medical staff.
Try to make the person comfortable and reassure them that help is on their way.
For more First Aid Tips visit us…
Red Cross. Be prepared with first aid basics. Retrieved from https://www.redcross.org.au/news-and-media/news/summer-first-aid. 09/11/2020
Queensland Health . Retrieved from https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/what-to-do-if-you-get-bitten-by-a-snake. 09/11/2020
Latest News Online. Feb 2019. Snakes in Australia – the truth and the myths about getting bitten Retrieved from: https://www.theleader.com.au/story/5894154/the-truth-about-snakebites-in-australia/