First Aid after a snake bite
Everything you have seen in the movies, such as sucking the poison out of the
wound, cutting it out with a knife etc. is COMPLETELY wrong. You would only increase the damage which is already done. The ONLY things that really work are the following:
1. Calm the victim down
This is the first step. Fear and panic result in a higher pulse rate and therefore quicken the spreading of poison if any is present. Most of the snakes are harmless but can also bite and generally leave the same marks as poisonous bites.
Even poisonous snakes do not always inject poison if its reason for biting someone is self-defence. Nowadays, the treatment of snakebites is so effective that they are seldom mortal.
2. Treatment of the bite wound
The wounds should be cleaned and covered to avoid further infections. Do not try to extract any poison by putting pressure on the area. If the bite is in the hand or arm, remove all rings and watches because of possible
3. Immobilize the wounded area
To slow down the spreading of any possible poison, immobilize the wound area (arm or leg) without applying any pressure. Do not let the victim walk or run!!! The less movement, the better.
4. Try to slow down the blood circulation of the affected limb
If there is no hope of finding medical treatment within 30 minutes of the incident,
you will have to slow down the blood circulation by bandaging the affected limb.
The slowing down of the blood circulation might be the only way to prevent the spreading of the poison in the above scenario. The bandage should be applied by a person with some experience in first-aid, or if possible, by a doctor because of the risk of increasing the damage is always there. The bandage, preferably slightly elastic if available, or a towel or a similar piece of
material, and then applied in such a way that the circulation is slowed down but never completely stopped. Do not remove the bandage before arriving at the hospital!!!
This method should only be applied in critical situations due to the danger of doing more harm than good.
- Some venoms can start to dissolve the tissue in the affected area.
- If the pressure of the bandage is to
strong, the extremities can be so affected that it can result in necessary amputation.
- Upon releasing the pressure of the bandage, the blood circulation surges, thus spreading the poison very rapidly, which is exactly what you were trying to avoid.
5. Transport of the victim
The victim should be transported lying down and should be transported to a hospital as quickly as possible. Find out whether the hospital (most
do) have snake serum available. Avoid allowing the victim to walk as this increase the blood circulation.
6. Observe the victim
During transportation of the victim, he/she should be constantly observed. The bite may inflict extreme pain. Some snakes have nerve poison, thus numbing the wound area and being almost pain free. Depending on the kind of venom, swelling, vomiting, a racing heart beat and headache, vomiting blood, hanging
eyelids and localized loss of tissue might occur. Never give any painkilling medication since most of these have a thinning effect on the blood and therefore increase the spread of poison.
7. At the hospital
To ascertain which kind of serum is to be used, it is very important to give as much information as possible about what kind of snake inflicted the bite. If at all possible, bring the (killed) snake with you. If this is not
possible, try to remember the colour, shape of the head, size. etc. You should also make sure that the tetanus inoculation is current.
First Aid: spitting cobra
Some Cobras spit their venom straight into the eyes of their victim. They can do this with stunning accuracy up to 3 meters. The eyes should be rinsed out thoroughly with clear water. Since this is the first line of defence of the cobra, try to avoid being bitten afterwards
by slowly retreating. The cobras are amongst the most deadly snakes in the world!
All above data is provided without responsibility!