COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCE
DEPARTMENT OF MIDWIFERY
FIRST AID ASSIGMENT
INSTRUCTOR OF FIRST AID
Snakebite first aid recommendations vary, in part because different snakes have different types of venom. Some have little local effect, but life-threatening systemic effects, in which case containing the venom in the region of the bite by pressure immobilization is desirable. Other venoms instigate localized tissue damage around the bitten area, and immobilization may increase the severity of the damage in this area, but also reduce the total area affected; whether this trade-off is desirable remains a point of controversy. Because snakes vary from one country to another, first aid methods also vary.
However, most first aid guidelines agree on the following:
• Protect the person and others from further bites. While identifying the species is desirable in certain regions, risking further bites or delaying proper medical treatment by attempting to capture or kill the snake is not recommended.
• Keep the person calm. Acute stress reaction increases blood flow and endangers the person. Panic is infectious and compromises judgment.
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• Call for help to arrange for transport to the nearest hospital emergency room, where antivenom for snakes common to the area will often be available.
• Make sure to keep the bitten limb in a functional position and below the victim’s heart level so as to minimize blood returning to the heart and other organs of the body.
• Do not give the person anything to eat or drink. This is especially important with consumable alcohol, a known vasodilator which will speed up the absorption of venom. Do not administer stimulants or pain medications to the victim, unless specifically directed to do so by a physician.
• Remove any items or clothing which may constrict the bitten limb if it swells (rings, bracelets, watches, footwear, etc.)
• Keep the person as still as possible.
Do not incise the bitten site.
first aid treatment
Seek immediate medical help.
For poisoning by swallowing:
• Check and monitor the person’s airway, breathing, and pulse. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.
• Try to make sure that the person has indeed been poisoned. It may be hard to tell. Some signs include chemical-smelling breath, burns around the mouth, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or unusual odors on the person. If possible, identify the poison.
• Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.
• If the person vomits, clear the person’s airway. Wrap a cloth around your fingers before cleaning out the mouth and throat. If the person has been sick from a plant part, save the vomit. It may help experts identify what medicine can be used to help reverse the poisoning.
• If the person starts having convulsions, give convulsion first aid.
• Keep the person comfortable. The person should be rolled onto the left side, and remain there while getting or waiting for medical help.
• If the poison has spilled on the person’s clothes, remove the clothing and flush the skin with water.