Overview – Snake Bite Presentation

Snake Bite
At the November 2020 meeting Quintin Robinson gave a talk and demonstration of the latest first aid techniques for the treatment of snake bite.

Here is an overview of what he advised.

  1. Keep still and don’t panic
    Snake venom attacks the body through the lymphatic system and is pumped around the body by muscle action.
  2. Apply pressure over the bite area
    Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage by following the steps below:
    1. use an elasticised roller bandage that is 10-15cm wide
    2. roll the bandage over bite site
    3. apply a second elasticised roller bandage, starting just above the fingers or toes and moving upwards on the bitten limb as far as the bandage will reach
    4. apply the bandage as tightly as possible to the limb
    5. if you don’t have a bandage handy, any stretchy material will do (torn up t-shirts, stockings or other fabric can be used as a bandage)
  3. Leave the snake alone
    Don’t try to catch the animal for identification it will probably bite you as well. The venom identification can be done in the hospital by chemical analysis and other means.
  4. Call an ambulance or seek other help
  5. Don’t wash, suck, cut or tourniquet the bite
    1. There are a lot of old methods of treating snake bites that are now known to cause more harm than good.
    2. Don’t wash the site of the wound or clothing around it because any venom residue could assist the medical staff to identify the snake.

There are several Snake Bite First Aid Kits on the market. It is a good idea to purchase one and have it close to hand whenever you are in snake territory.