Snake Bites & First Aid

Knowing whether a snake bite is dangerous or not can be difficult. There are two different types of snake bites to be aware of – Dry bites and Venomous bites.

Dry Bites are when the snake strikes, but no venom is released. They can be painful and may cause swelling and redness around the bite area.

Venomous bites are when a snake bites your body and releases venom into the wound, this venom contains poisons that are designed to stun, numb, or kill other animals.

Symptoms of a venomous bite include:

  • Severe pain around the bite (This can take time to develop)
  • Swelling, bruising, or bleeding from the bite.
  • Bite marks on the skin – these might be obvious puncture wounds or almost invisible small scratches.

Once venom starts to spread within the body, symptoms may develop including:

  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Headache, confusion, or dizziness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis.

You should always provide emergency care if you or someone else is bitten by a snake – including CPR if required. Snake bites should always be medically assessed and treated, even if the person who was bitten seems ok.

In the event of a snake bite, follow these steps and try to remain calm:

  • Get away from the snake.
  • Ensure they rest and help them to stay calm.
  • Follow the steps of basic first aid – DRSABCD.
  • Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero doesn’t work, try calling 112.
  • Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage.
    • If you can’t use a pressure immobilisation bandage because the bite is on the stomach or back, apply constant, firm pressure.

Things that you SHOULD NOT do:

  • Do not wash the bite area – venom left on the skin and clothing can help identify the snake.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet (a strap to stop blood flow).
  • Do not cut the wound.
  • Do not try to suck the venom (poison) out.

Friendlies stock a large range of first aid kits and immobilisation bandages, be sure to ask our friendly staff.