We all know that Summer is the time of year when snakes are at their most active but when the confirmed reports of two Queensland children being bitten in separate incidents by snakes, it makes us all sit up and take notice. With over 140 different species of snakes located on land across Australia, approximately a dozen of these snakes are considered ‘deadly’ due to their venom content.
Snakes are by nature, not aggressive so when they do bite is out of an act of defense. Many snake bikes are caused by people attempting to catch or a kill or snake – both of which is illegal. Another common situation, especially with children, is they are bitten by accidentally stepping on a snake and the snake is startled. Snakes ‘listen’ through vibrations in the ground so you can appreciate that the pitter-patter of little feet would not cause enough vibrations to alert a snake to get out of the way.
With our head office based in South East Queensland, at First Aid Accident and Emergency, we place a lot of emphasis on the importance of understanding the correct first aid procedure when treating a snake bite victim. Many of us would have heard a lot of variations on different techniques of handling a snake bites, so we would like to set the record straight on the most current and correct way to handle a snake bite.
1. Keep the patient and the snake bite region (ie foot) as low and as still as possible to reduce the blood circulation.
2. Bandage the area firmly starting from the region of the bite and going up by doing this you are applying the Pressure Immobilisation Technique (PITS). Call 000 as soon as possible for paramedic assistance.
3. Do not spend any time concerning yourself with identifying the snake. This will be done at the hospital through a sample from the victim.
4. Once bandaged, mark the bite sight on the bandage with a pen/marker as well as the time of the bite.
5. Keep the patient still and calm until the paramedics arrive.
It is important to note that only 5% of snake bites actually inject venom. Watch our video below for tips on snake bite first aid and for more information on our registered first aid courses, visit our First Aid Courses information page.