What Is The First Aid Treatment For Snake Bites?

by Kristina Coates

Australia has some of the world’s deadliest creatures with more deadly snakes than any other country worldwide. It would make sense living in Australia to know what is the first aid treatment for snake bites, right? Like most things, you don't realise just how important things are until you need them in the heat of the moment. That's where this important realisation happened for me and the spark of an idea to solve the problem not just for myself but for others too.

What Is The First Aid Treatment For Snake Bites?

The Australian Eastern Brown Snake (pictured). The venom of the Eastern Brown Snake is rated as the second most toxic of all snake venoms in the world, next only to that of Inland Taipan (which is also a native of Australia). The venom of an Eastern Brown Snake contains a cocktail of poisons.

When Kathryn and I decided to create Live Well Health Essentials as a brand for KB Medical Sales we wanted to create products within the Live Well Health Essentials range that stood for quality and enabled people to be proactive about health.

One of the core things people do to be proactive about our health is to enjoy the great outdoors. Living in Australia gives us some incredible places outdoors to enjoy too. So how do you make the most of the great outdoors when Australia is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be outside? 

We can’t all be hermits, it’s just not good for our health. Being healthier looks different for everyone, but overwhelmingly when Summer comes many people get outdoors to enjoy the sunshine.

Enjoying The Great Outdoors Australia

The challenging thing is people are not the only ones that enjoy it. Snakes do too. I love enjoying walks around where we live on the Northern Beaches, NSW. It was on one of these walks last Summer the idea for a new Live Well Health Essentials product came to me. I was doing one of my favourite walks around Manly Dam and there on the path ahead of me I saw movement. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. There were 2 brown snakes mating. They were thrashing around and once I realised what I was seeing I high tailed it back down the path, the opposite direction! Once home and after I’d calmed down, I started to think about all the ‘what if’ scenarios.

Bush Walking Manly Dam

What if I’d been oblivious to the danger and interrupted the snakes?

What if I’d been bitten by one of the brown snakes?

What if I didn’t let my family know where I was walking that day?

I was still in the thinking mode when just a couple of weeks later, that same Summer, my son came home and told me of his close encounter. He was mountain biking at St Ives. He was heading up a steep hill so was pushing his bike rather than riding, that in hindsight was a good thing. In that moment, a brown snake reared up in the middle of the path, luckily he saw and was able to maneuver his bike to be between him and the snake.

It's a great spot that's popular with bike riders and it turns out also popular for snakes.

There are so many things that can’t be predicted but on that day I decided to research what to do in case I was bitten by a snake or anyone else I knew for that matter. I wanted to ensure I was fully prepared. I didn't want to be caught off guard. Here I share the steps to take if you are bitten by a snake and also introduce you to the new Live Well Health Essentials Venom Bandage and how it can help you have peace of mind and still get out and have fun in the great outdoors.

The Australian Red Cross is a great resource for First Aid Basics, here are recommendations according to them:

All snake bites must be treated as potentially life-threatening. If someone is bitten by a snake, get help immediately.

  1. Keep the person at rest, reassured and under observation.
  2. Dial 000 (Australia).
  3. Do not wash venom off the skin or clothes.
  4. Begin CPR, if necessary. 30 chest compressions per 2 breaths.
  5. If bitten on a limb, apply a firm bandage on the bite site. Ensure the limb is immobilised and the person remains still.
  6. Work the bandage from the limb foot or hand upwards, working towards the heart and covering as much as the limb as possible. If you can, apply a splint to keep the limb immobile.
  7. Keep the person still and reassured until medical attention arrives.

What I learned from these important snake bite instructions, where possible don’t go out in the great outdoors alone. If I do go alone,  let people know where I’m going and take my phone with me. The most important thing I can do if bitten by a snake is to get medical help as quickly as possible and call 000. The next most important thing I can do is to bandage the affected area.

The simple act of having a venom bandage on me could be a huge help. This goes beyond having a full blow first aid kit in the car or with us when camping. This is simply having a venom bandage in my pocket along with my phone when walking or having fun in the great outdoors could make all the difference. It was with this in mind and still with the vivid memory of seeing not one but two brown snakes when I was walking on a footpath near bushland (not even in the bush!) I set out to bring a convenient and high quality venom bandage to market.

The Live Well Health Essentials Venom Bandage is ideal for packing in your first aid kit or backpack when on outdoor adventures. When the warmer weather hits we aren't the only ones who come out of hibernation and love to be out and about. Snakes love the warmer weather too. It's important to be prepared in case of Snake Bites.

Live Well Health Essentials Venom Bandage is a compression bandage ideally utilised for the PIT first aid action that is undertaken in the event of a snake bite. 

The pressure immobilisation technique (PIT) retards the flow of lymph by which venoms gain access to the circulation. It has also been shown that there may be inactivation of certain venoms and venom components when the injected venom remains trapped in the tissues by the pressure bandage.

I sincerely hope you don’t need to use a venom bandage, but for peace of mind, I’ve learned it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Stock up with the Live Well Health Essentials Venom Bandage today, just in case.