Every part of the world has its fair share of snakes and you never know when you’re going to come across one with a deadly bite. Knowing snake bite first aid could be a life saver.
Snakes don’t lay in wait for someone to come along so they can attack them. Their venom is best used on prey that they can render lifeless so they are easily consumed. However, they will protect themselves, and humans no doubt makes them feel threatened so will strike out in self-defense. While the biggest concern with a snake bite is whether it’s a venomous snake, even non-poisonous snake bites can have serious effects such as an allergic reaction or leaving a wound significant enough to become infected.
For those that are venturing out into the wilderness, they should know there is a risk of a snake encounter. They should also know there are two key factors that must be considered; prevention and reaction with snake bite first aid.
What you will learn:
- Prevention tips to avoid snake bites
- Possible signs of snake bites
- Snake bite first aid treatment
- Things you should DO and NOT want to do
It goes without saying that avoiding prime snake locations is your best prevention. Staying on the hiking trails increases your safety. This isn’t always possible with some hiking adventures so dressing for the event is a key factor here. This means wearing long trousers and making sure your boots are at least ankle high, check our previous post as we listed needed outdoor gears to ensure safety. You can even go a step further and wear snake proof gators. Keep alert and watch where you are stepping. In rough terrain where you suspect there may be snakes and you cannot see where you are about to step, kick the ground ahead of you to give potential snakes in the area a chance to move away.
It doesn’t matter whether your wilderness adventure is only going to be a day trip or an adventure that is going to take you exploring for several days, you need to make sure you are equipped with the appropriate survival kit.
Your survival in the wilderness is dependent on water, warmth, shelter and food. If you have a kit like the Bob Cooper Survival Kit then you are prepared for what nature may bring your way on your wilderness outing.
Reaction to a Possible Snake Bite
In most cases individuals know when they have been bitten by a snake but in some cases they may not. Knowing the signs will help you to implement snake bite first aid as quickly as possible:
- Burning sensation
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid heart rate
- Weakness of body
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness or tingling
These physical symptoms could be an indicator of other potential problems that can occur in the wilderness such as dehydration and heat stroke, or eating something that wasn’t meant for human consumption like berries or mushrooms. This should not just be assumed that this is what it is but signs for a snake bite could be;
- Bloody wound discharge
- Fang marks or swelling at wound
- Extreme localised pain
- Burning sensation
Snake Bite First Aid and Treatment
The next step is to seek out immediate medical attention. While waiting for this there are some snake bite first aid steps that can be taken:
- Make sure the affected area is maintained below heart level to help reduce the venom from flowing through the body.
- Keep the individual calm. You want them to remain still and quite.
- Make sure you remove any clothing that may be restricting the area around the bite wound.
- Ideally you want the wound to bleed freely for about 15 to 30 seconds.
- Clean the wound gently, but do not flush it with water.
- Cover the wound with a dry clean dressing we highly recommend using Bob Cooper Snake Bite Kit, it has correct pressure and will remain tight during transport of the victim. NOTE: The most effective first – aid treatment for venomous snakes and many creatures is the pressure and immobilization technique.
- Restrict the affected area with a loose splint to prevent mobility.
- Track the individual’s vital signs which are temperature, pulse, breathing rate and if possible blood pressure.
- Carefully observe the individual’s appearance, paying particular attention to paleness.
- Know what the signs of shock are which are, sweating, shallow breathing and/or clammy feeling skin. Many times individuals are terrified by the fact that they have been bitten by a snake and this can put them into shock.
Try to identify the snake responsible for the snake bite as this will help the medical authorities with their treatment plan. If you are going to kill the snake you still need to be cautious as snakes can still bite several hours after dying.
Ideally you need to obtain medical advice as quickly as possible, even if you are a distance away from getting the direct medical attention that you need. They will be able to give you additional medical instructions to follow while waiting for responders.
What you do NOT want to do:
- Do not apply a suction device, if you are not able to get medical help within one hour.
- Do not try to suck out the venom with your mouth.
- Do not allow the affected individual to move around.
- Do not apply a tourniquet, or pressing device
- Do not apply a cold pack.
- Do not allow the individual to eat or drink anything.
- Do not cut across the bite marks.
- Don’t waste time trying to capture the snake.
These snake bite first aid tips, along with the appropriate survival kits, will help to make your wilderness adventures safer and more enjoyable.
Adventure Survival Gear
Adventure Survival Gear offers quality, outdoor adventure and survival gear products to Australia and New Zealand. Whether you’re a once a year adventurer, or whether it’s your profession, we are here to fuel that passion and provide you with all the adventure and survival gear you need in one place.