Snake Bite Advice How to Deal with a Snake Bite
Australia has around 140 species of land snakes and another 20 or so sea snakes. Of these about 100 are actually venomous. But only about 12 are fatal to humans and kill if not attended to urgently.
Listed below are some basic information of snake bites. Please note these are only basic guidelines. Always seek medical advice urgently.
If in doubt call your emergency service (In Australia call triple zero - 000).
What to Do if Bitten by a Snake Basic Advice
The Royal Australian Flying Doctor Service recommends the following general guideline for treating snake bites.
• Do NOT wash the area of the bite or try to suck out the venom. It is extremely important to retain traces of venom for use with venom identification kits.
• Do NOT incise or cut the bite, or apply a high tourniquet. Cutting or incising the bite won't help. High tourniquets are ineffective and can be fatal if released.
• Do bandage firmly, splint and immobilise to stop the spread of venom. All the major medical associations recommend slowing the spread of venom by placing a folded pad over the bite area and then applying a firm bandage. It should not stop blood flow to the limb or congest the veins. Only remove the bandage in a medical facility, as the release of pressure will cause a rapid flow of venom through the bloodstream.
• Do NOT allow the victim to walk or move their limbs. Use a splint or sling to minimise all limb movement. Put the patient on a stretcher or bring transportation to the patient.
• Do seek medical help immediately as the venom can cause severe damage to health and even death within a few hours.
The Australian government provides a Symptom Checker for those who suspect they may have been bitten by a snake.
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