Snake bite prevention and first aid information

Snake bite prevention and first aid information


Prevention and Treatment of Snake Bites


Snake bite information:

  1. Key Facts
  2. RxDx Vaccines
  3. Preventative Measures
  4. Treatment

Key Facts:

  • Cutting the area around the wound is often a traditional initial treatment in India, however this can be dangerous because the venom often stops the normal clotting of blood therefore causing excessive bleeding.
  • Sucking venom from the wound has been proven not to remove any of the venom from the bite area, and can even inhibit the natural oozing of the venom from the wound.
  • Washing the wound increases the flow of venom through the system by stimulating the lymphatic system.

RxDx Vaccines:

  • This anti snake venom can be prescribed by an RxDx doctor in case of emergency, however the patient would then need to be transferred to a larger hospital for further treatment.
  • Anti Snake venom (ASV) in India is polyvalum, Ie. It is effective for all the four common species : Russels Viper (Daboia Russelii), Common Cobra (Naja Naja), Common Krait (Bungarus Caeruieus) and Saw Scaled Viper (Echis Carinatus).
  • As there is no immunizations available to protect against snakebites, the most anyone can do to protect themselves is to take preventative measures.
  • It should be noted however that 70% of all snakebites are from non venomous species and only 50% of bites by venomous snakes actually envenomate the patient.

Preventative Measure:

  • If walking at night, wear substantial shoes and make your footsteps heavy on the ground. The snake can detect vibrations and will stay out of your way whenever possible.
  • Carry a stick when gardening, picking fruit, cutting grass or working around the base of a tree. Move and disturb the plants/sticks/fruit with the stick before working in the garden to make sure there are no snakes there and giving the snake time to get away if there is one there. Do the same for any grass cuttings which have been kept in piles.
  • Keep rubbish and food away from your house as these will attract rats which in turn will attract snakes.
  • Keep plants away from your windows or doors. Snakes like cover and plants can help them to climb up and into windows.



  • Do keep the patient calm and reassure them that most snakes are not venomous.
  • Do immobilise the limb as you would with a bandage and splint (do not make the bandage tight)
  • Do get to a hospital as quickly as possible.
  • Do inform the doctor of any symptoms which arose on the way to the hospital.
  • Do bring the snake with you to the hospital for identification purposes (If the Snake has already been killed).

Do Not:

  • Do not try to kill or capture the snake, this can be dangerous and cause more attacks and also wastes valuable time.
  • Do not use Tournequets, pressure or any tight bandaging.
  • Do not cut the wound or try to suck the venom out
  • Do not Wash the wound

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