Snake Bite First Aid

Snake Bite Do's and Don'ts

The following information is intended for snake bites received throughout Australia but should not be used as a guide for all snake bites 'worldwide' as specific snake venoms have different actions upon the human body and in some cases compressing the bite site will lead to more extensive trauma.

Snake Bite: Do Not

  • Do not attempt to capture or kill the snake
  • Do not wash or clean the bite site
  • Do not give patient painkillers/alcohol/caffeine or cigarettes
  • Allow patient to move around
  • Leave patient unless it is necessary to do so in order to get help

Snake Bite: Do

  • Keep patient calm
  • Bandage bite site with a compression bandage enclosing the whole limb to the groin or armpit using the same pressure as for a sprain
  • Splint the limb
  • Take note of the time of the bite [record if possible]
  • Try and remove jewellery
  • Be prepared to administer CPR
  • Seek immediate medical attention
It's worth noting that not all bites result in envenomation. However, if you are unsure it always pays to err on the side of caution. Better to be a little embarrassed than a lot dead.

The emergency number to call in Australia is :000.