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How to treat a snake bite.

The first thing to do with a snake bite is NOT to apply a tourniquet. That method is no longer recommended.

(And don’t get any ideas about trying to suck the venom out of the bite either, that one’s strictly for the Hollywood movies.)

The first thing of course to do is dial 000 and get an ambulance on the way. Tell them as much detail as you can about the person, the possible description of the snake and give them accurate directions to find you.

The next thing is to help keep the victim calm and still. (They may be stressing out so ensuring they do not move around and get agitated will help to slow down the spread of any venom in their body.)

Get them still and comfortable and immobilise the limb that has been bitten.

Next apply a pressure bandage to the bite area. If you don’t have a bandage of any form, use a T-shirt torn into a long cloth bandage, a towel, scarf, or anything you can wrap firmly around the limb. Work from the bottom of the limb up over the bite area and continue as far up the limb as you have bandage. Mark the area of the bite on the bandage to make it easier for the ambulance crew or paramedics.

Then, if you can, apply a splint to keep the limb straight and still. Use a stick, pole, anything you can find. Fix the split to the limb by again wrapping any form of bandage you can around it.

If the bite is NOT on a limb, apply any form of bandage you can find to the bite area and then apply firm pressure with your hands to the wound area.

Continue to keep the person calm and still. If they go into shock or cardiac arrest, apply CPR if you are trained.

If the person is not going into shock or cardiac arrest remain with them until the ambulance or medical assistance arrives, continuing to provide comfort and support.

Note what you can about the time of the bite, the description of the snake if you saw it, the time you applied the bandage, etc. This will all help.

Remember that 21 of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world are found in Australia. Despite this fact, death from snake bite is fairly rare. While there are over 3,000 reported snake bites per year, the number of fatalities is only a handful.

So, remind your snakebite victim their chances of recovery are really high. This will help to reassure them, which is one of the most important parts of helping them to survive by keeping them calm. Along with knowing what to do with the bandage, of course.

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