As you’re no doubt already aware, Australia is home to some of the world’s most venomous snakes. While the likelihood of encountering one might be rare, being prepared and knowing how to handle a snake bite can be a lifesaver. This comprehensive guide from First Aid Online offers valuable insights on first aid measures to be taken if you or someone you know is bitten.
Recognising a Snake Bite
It’s essential to note that not all snake bites lead to venom injection – however, it’s always safer to treat every snake bite as if venom has been injected. Symptoms can vary based on the type of snake, but some common signs include:
- Localised pain or swelling at the bite site
- Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
- Blurred vision, dizziness, or headaches
- Breathing difficulties
- Irregular heartbeat
Immediate First Aid Actions
- Immobilise: One of the critical steps after a snake bite is to stay still. Ensure the victim is still and lay them down, they can sit up if more comfortable, but they need to stay still.
- Do Not Wash the Bite Site: While it might be tempting, do not wash the wound. The remaining venom can help medical personnel identify the snake and provide the correct antivenom.
- Pressure Immobilisation Technique: Use a bandage or cloth to bind the bitten limb firmly, starting from the fingers or toes and moving upwards. The pressure should be tight enough to be uncomfortable, but not unbearable as they need to stay still. Splint the limb to restrict movement. This technique can slow down the spread of venom and is vital for Australian elapid snake bites. To learn this technique thoroughly, consider the HLTAID011 Provide First Aid course.
- Avoid Tourniquets or Cutting the Bite Site: Put simply, these methods can do more harm than good.
- Call for Help: Dial the emergency number and await instructions. While waiting, keep the victim as still as possible.
- Remember the Snake’s Appearance: Do not try to catch the snake – instead, take note of its appearance to aid identification.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Even if the victim feels fine, they should be taken to a medical facility by emergency services. The effects of venom can be delayed, and only proper medical intervention ensures safety. If the victim stops breathing, initiate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and continue until medical help arrives.
Protecting Vulnerable Individuals
Children and individuals in educational or care settings might be more vulnerable to snake bites due to their innate curiosity. It’s paramount that educators and caregivers are well-equipped with first aid knowledge. The HLTAID012 Provide First Aid in an Education and Care Setting course is tailor-made for such requirements. For younger members of the family, our Baby and Child Online First Aid course ensures their safety.
Being snake-aware and knowing the basics of snake bite first aid are essential, especially in Australia
Regularly update your knowledge and be ready to handle emergencies confidently. Whether you’re an adventurer, educator, or parent, there’s a course on First Aid Online that fits your needs. Stay prepared, stay safe!