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Top Ten Things To Do - After a Snakebite

Before you start reading:

Can you think of one thing to do after a snakebite - talkless of 10 things? Luckily, this article has practical tips from writer Fisayo Aturamu to help if you are ever in that situation - Now read on...

Hazy image of a woman's face with tendrils around her face

When it comes to snake bites, what happens in real life is quite different from what we see in movies.

In a typical movie scene where someone has been bitten by a snake, they usually cut around the wound or suck it, and then proceed to bind the wound with a piece of clothing.

However, this is the wrong approach.


Practical Guide

Below are 10 things that you should do immediately after a snake bite as first aid before arrival at the hospital.

  1. Ensure that the individual is safe and calm.
  2. Get a detailed description of the snake i.e. the colour, length, etc. This may help determine if the snake is venomous.
  3. Check for bite marks on the skin and look out for any sign of swelling, bruising or bleeding.
  4. If bleeding occurs at the bite site, apply pressure on it till the bleeding stops.
  5. Then clean the wound with soap and water to prevent infection.
  6. Ask and observe for symptoms such as pain, breathing difficulties, headache, blurred vision, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting.
  7. Remove any tight clothing, shoes, jewellery or other accessories around the bite and ask them to lie flat with the bitten part of the body held still at the level of the heart with minimal movement.
  8. Ensure that they do not eat or drink.
  9. Bandage the entire bitten limb firmly (i.e. from fingers to armpit in the case of a hand bite and toes to the groin in the case of a bite to the leg) to prevent the spread of the venom to other parts of the body.
  10. Get the individual to the hospital as soon as possible where they may be given antivenom and a tetanus shot as required.


Conclusion

Snakebite is a fairly common incident as human activities encroach on or cross paths with wildlife.

While not all snakes are dangerous, some are.

Prevention through safe environmental practices is important; it is also crucial to take the right and immediate actions in the circumstance of a snake bite.

That should start before getting to a health facility. This article has provided practical actions to take.

At the health institution level, it is important to have information, protocols, medical decision tools and support for health care practitioners to reference while providing quality lifesaving care.

It is also important to have stock (within expiry date) of antivenom that is based on the local wildlife; and other medical supplies.

And (at the health system level), it is important to have better management of residential neighbourhoods and the environment

This also includes having access to measures that can reduce human contact and prevent snake bites that may be life-threatening.

For more reading, check out the following links:

www.healthxchange.sg/medicine-first-aid/first-aid/snake-bites-symptoms-treatments

www.webmd.com/first-aid/snakebite-treatment

More Reading:

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team

Disclaimer

All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through info@askawayhealth.org

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