The First 5 Minutes – Snake Bite

What you do in the First 5 Minutes in any First Aid situation is critical.

Would you know what to do in the first 5 minutes?


KNOW What To Do – in the first 5 minutesSnake bite- KNOW what to do

What you do in the first 5 minutes can make all the difference.

Snake Bite – Australia only

This also applies to the Funnel web and Mouse spiders plus Blue-ringed octopus and the Cone shell.

Australia has 20 species of snake that are highly dangerous to humans and Brown snakes have been the biggest cause of death. Not all snakes are poisonous and many bites are ‘dry’ in that they deliver no venom…….however


What is it?

Toxins in the snake venom are transported by the lymphatic system. Body movement activates the lymph system which in turn will speed up the spread of the venom.

Signs and Symptoms of a snake bite.

It’s easy to miss a snake bite (can be mistaken for a twig snapping and flicking your leg) and symptoms may not appear for an hour or more.
• Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
• Headache, double or blurred vision
• Generalised weakness, stiffness and aching, developing paralysis
• Tongue feels thick, breathing difficulties, signs of lack of oxygen (skin colour from blue to cherry red, blue lips)
• Respiratory and/or cardiac arrest

Snake-Bite-2KNOW What to do

• Be ready to follow DRSABCD (Send for help – 000)
• Do NOT move the casualty – bring help to them
• Get them to lie down and keep still – calm and reassure
• Apply pressure Immobilisation bandage (ideally with a heavy crepe bandage). Do not remove clothing.
• Do not wipe off the venom – leave it there for later testing. (Avoid getting venom on you)
• Bandage firmly from the tips of the fingers or toes (leaving nails free to check) and continue as high up the limb as you can go.
• Mark the bite site
• Check for blood flow (capillary return). Do this by pressing the nail (or underside of nail if wearing nail polish). It will initially turn white and then colour should return within 5 seconds – if not, you have done it too tight and restricted the blood flow
• Immobilise the casualty with comfortable splints or legs tied together
• Note the time of the bite, any description of the snake and stay with them

KNOW What Not To Do

Snakes often only bite if they are feeling threatened.
DO NOT wash off the venom, DO NOT cut, suck and spit, DO NOT use a tourniquet and DO NOT try to catch the snake!