Emergency Response – Snake Bite
Know About Snakebite
India constitutes about 272 species out of 2,000 species of snakes found in the world. This makes approximately 10 percent of the total snake species found in the world and 80% of them are non-venomous. There are only 4 species of snakes that are dangerous to man, namely, Cobra, Krait, Russell’s viper and Saw-scaled viper known as “Big Four”.
How to recognize a Venomous Snake Bite
- Remember to treat every snake bite victim as if he was bitten by a venomous snake.
- Look for Puncture Marks or redness, bleeding, swelling around bite.
- Look for Drooping of eyelids (It looks as if victim going into sleep).
- Breathing difficulty and victim may go into shock.
Emergency Response For Snake Bite
- Keep the victim calm, restrict his movement.
- Assure the victim and do not let him panic. When under panic, it will enhance heart rate and would circulate the venom faster in the body.
- Remove any rings or constricting items; the affected area may swell.
- The limb, which has been affected by the bite, should be immobilized with splint and keep bitten area below the level of heart.
- Keep the victim warm. However, no alcohol/hot beverages should be given.
- Do not allow the victim to exert himself in any manner. No water and No food is the golden rule.
- Do not cover the bite area and puncture marks. The wound should be gently cleaned with antiseptic.
- Try to aspirate the venom out of the puncture marks with standard suction devices as often included in commercial snakebite kits. But, the suction should be applied within 5 minutes of the bite.
What Not to Do
- Do not put tourniquet (or tight bandage) on the victim.
- Do not cut wound open to try to drain venom out.
- Do not try to suck out venom.
Alert: The only remedy for venomous snakebite is the anti-venom serum, which is available at most government hospitals and public health centres.