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First Aid Tips for Snake Bite

firstaid tips for snake bite
Dr. Monika Bhanushali
Dr. Monika Bhanushali
April05/ 2016


Snake venom is actually the saliva of the snake. Snakes use this saliva to either digest its prey or protect against a threat by killing it for self protection. It was not made specifically to kill humans. These venoms are injected from snakes out of their fangs after they bite but some of the snakes are also able to spit the venom.

There are two types of venoms of snake which are life threatening to the human beings. One of them acts on the nervous system of the human beings and the other attacks the cardiovascular system. In India, most commonly found poisonous snakes are common krait, cobra and viper. Rest other species of snakes found in India are non poisonous.

Now let’s discuss the Dos and Dont’s in case of a snake bite:

Do’s

Keeping Calm

The victim should keep calm as many times the victims go in shock because they are scared and the snake is not even poisonous. There are very few snakes’ species in our country which are poisonous. It’s very important to keep calm as increased heart rates will also circulate the blood faster and the speed of the spread of the poison will get enhanced.

Go to the Nearest Hospital as Soon as Possible

If a snake bite happens, don’t wait to catch and identify the snake. If the snake has been a poisonous one, it might cause delay in the treatment and the victim may end up losing his/her life. In hospital, the doctors will give anti venom serum to the victim. It includes antidote for the poison of snakes such as cobra, saw scaled viper, common krait and Russell viper.

Restriction of the Movements

The victim should move as little as possible so as not to let the venom spread at a faster rate to the rest of his body.

  • Remove all the constricting items or rings that the victim might be wearing on his/her body as the venom may cause affected area to swell.
  • Apply a firm compression bandage to the area above the area of the bite to stop the spread of venom through lymphatic channels. The area should also be immobilised with the help of a splint. This bandage will also take care of any bleeding if present.
  • You can wash the wound with normal soap and water or anti septic in the mean time.

Keep the Area Elevated

keeping the bite area slightly elevated will decrease or control the flow of toxins in the poison to the rest of the body.

Dont’s

Do not Try to Suck the Venom and Spit out

This is a very popular but satiric notion that the venom can be sucked out with mouth. This is a false belief. And this should be strictly prohibited. The venom can enter in the person’s mouth and can affect him/ her. There are instruments available to suck the venom out. These instruments can be used within 5 minutes of the snake bite.

Do not Cover the Puncture Marks

it is one of the worse mistakes any one can commit in a case of snake bite. The area should not be closed at all. The wound should just be gently cleaned with anti septic or standard soap and water.

  • Do not apply ice or any other cooling materials to the affected area.
  • Do not use any electric cable or string or rubber as a tourniquet as they might cut off the blood supply of that part and that limb might need to be amputated.
  • Do not take an incision at the bite area as it is not useful and end up increasing the extent of injury, blood loss and infection.

Dr. Monika Bhanushali
Dr. Monika Bhanushali

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