Courtesy of
Parentmedic NQ

Summer is here in north Queensland and with the warmer weather, snakes are more active.
Numerous adults and children have presented to the Emergency Department this year, so would you know what to do in the case of a snake bite?
If a person has been bitten by a snake, call an ambulance immediately by dialling 000.
Treat all snake bites as an emergency, regardless of whether you think they are venomous or not.

Snakes can look similar, so do not wait until symptoms are felt, as it may be too late to get help.

snake bite first aid

* Lay the person down and keep them as still as possible, also provide reassurance.
* Mark the bite if possible and apply a pressure immobilisation bandage.
* Wrap the bandage past the snake bite and as far up the limb as possible, ensuring the bandage is applied firmly without hindering blood circulation.
* Apply a splint to the bandaged limb. Record the time the bite occurred and when the bandage was applied.

In 90% of snake bites, evidence has shown that venom is not released (known as a dry bite).
Although no venom is injected, dry bites can be still painful and can cause swelling and redness around the area.


• wash, cut or try to suck the venom from the bite site
• try to catch the snake for identification purposes

Signs and symptoms of snake bites and/or envenomation:

• bite marks or scratches
• pain and/or bleeding from the bite site
• headache, blurred or double vision
• sagging eyelids
• altered voice, trouble speaking/swallowing or difficulty breathing
• muscle weakness, paralysis
• dark coloured urine
• nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
• drowsiness, dizziness or feeling faint
• pain in throat, chest or abdomen
• cardiac arrest

If the person has a cardiac arrest, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Loretta Woodford is passionate about educating parents and carers to be confident in an emergency situation through her Baby/Child First Aid sessions. She is a Registered Nurse with a Master in Nursing (Education) and the Owner of Parentmedic North Qld.

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