Step 1: Apply a bandage over the bite site, to an area about 10cm above and below the bite.
Step 2: Then using another elastic roller bandage, apply a firm wrap from Fingers/toes all the way to the armpit/groin. The bandage needs to be firm, but not so tight that it causes fingers or toes to turn purple or white. About the tension of a sprain bandage.
Step 3: Splint the limb so the patient can’t walk or bend the limb.
Do not cut, incise or suck the venom. Do not EVER use a tourniquet. Don’t remove the shirt or pants - just bandage over the top of clothing. Remember movement (like wriggling out of a shirt or pants) causes venom movement.
DO NOT try to catch, kill or identify the snake!!! This is important. In hospitals we NO LONGER NEED to know the type of snake; it doesn’t change treatment.
5 years ago, we would do a test on the bite, blood or urine to identify the snake so the correct anti-venom can be used. BUT NOW...we don’t do this. Our new Antivenom neutralises the venoms of all the 5 listed snake genus, so it doesn’t matter what snake bit the patient.
Read that again- one injection for all snakes! Polyvalent is our one-shot wonder, stocked in all hospitals, so most hospitals no longer stock specific Antivenins.
Australian snakes tend to have 3 main effects in differing degrees.
Bleeding - internally and bruising. Muscles paralysed causing difficulty talking, moving & breathing. Pain In some snakes, severe muscle pain in the limb, and days later the bite site can break down forming a nasty wound.
Allergy to snakes is rarer than winning lotto twice.
Not all bitten people are envenomated and only those starting to show symptoms above are given antivenom.
Make sure the person stays as still as still as possible!
~ Rob Timmings
(Photo by: Ross McGibbon Reptile Photography 'Western Tiger Snake')