First aid tip: first aid for a snake bite

Snake bites, whilst rare, can be lethal. Therefore its useful to know the correct first aid for a snake bite, especially if you work/live/are visting an area known to be home to snakes.

If someone suffers a snake bite, follow these simple first aid steps:

1) Ensure the snake no longer poses a threat or has moved away – do not place yourself in danger of being bitten.

2) Ask the casualty to rest (lie/sit down) and call for emergency help. Ensure the affected limb is below the level of the heart.

3) Clean the wound with soap & water if available.

4) Apply a compression bandage above the wound – this may slow down the spread of the venom throughout the body.

5) Reassure the casualty and await emergency help. Be ready to carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation if the casualty stops breathing.

It is important to stay calm and remember that the majority of snakes are not venomous. If you can, attempt to identify the snake – note down any distinctive markings/colours and its size.

Do not attempt to:

  • Suck out the venom from the wound
  • Apply a tourniquet to the limb
  • Catch the snake (!)


John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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