FIRST AID FOR SNAKEBITES

When someone is bitten by a snake, it is advised that you treat every bite as venomous until proven otherwise by a health provider. This shows how important it is to seek medical help after any snakebite. The following steps are a simple guide on how to help a snakebite victim before they reach to the hospital.

PRE-CLINICIAL FIRST AID

Step 1

 The first step is to move the victim from danger and lay him down. Provide assurance to the victim and contact an ambulance or the fastest route to the nearest health facility.

Step 2

Remove all jewelry and shoes from the affected limb. Apply a bandage/ leso around the limb, starting at the toes (or fingers if bitten on the arm). Apply this firmly throughout entire limb leaving the toes/ fingers to assess blood circulation. Apply a splint (or sling for the arm) to further immobilize the limb. If possible, mark the site of the bite on the bandage with a pen.

Step 3

Place the victim lying on the left side with his legs slightly elevated. While waiting for the ambulance you can ask the following questions which will help in snake identification and further treatment at the hospital.

  • You describe the snake that bit you?
  • What were the first noticeable signs?
  • What time were you bitten?
  • What were you doing during the bite?
  • Which medications/ traditional methods did you use after the bite?

Step 4

Once the mode of transport arrives, help take the victim to the hospital. Keep the victim engaged and note any changes in his behavior. Be sure to alert the health provider these changes.

SPITTING COBRA VENOM IN THE EYE FIRST AID

Venom in the eye causes severe pain, inflammation and tearing of the affected eye which can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. Follow these steps in the case of venom in the eye:

Step 1

Irrigate the eye with copious amounts of water (preferably running water). You can use milk or victim’s urine if water is unavailable. Avoid rubbing the eye as will cause more damage.

Step 2

Call for transport to the nearest hospital. Place a pad over the eye and tie a piece of cloth around it.

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