First Aid for Snake Bites: Simple and Effective Techniques for Being Prepared

First Aid for Snake Bites


Knowing first aid for snake bites in Australia is important. It doesn’t matter if you live in the bush, the cities, or the suburbs; snakes may be present, so understanding first aid for snake bites and preparing for them is critical.

Snake bites can be lethal. Seek Immediate medical assistance.

So, let’s get familiar with what to do if we, or someone we love, get bitten by a snake!


Of course, you won’t need to use first aid for snake bites if you avoid all snakes!

According to the Medical Journal of Australia, the “Snakebite Project,” research undertaken from 2005 to 2015, there are roughly 3000 snake bites annually in Australia on average.

One of the most difficult issues we face in Australia is that we share an environment with our wriggly buddies. While you may believe that most snake bites occur out bush, a study in 2016 indicated “the majority of snakebite deaths [in Australia] occurred close to the person’s dwelling and were within a major city or inner regional area”.

As you can see, dodging snakes might be difficult. You may avoid becoming a statistic if you educate yourself on snake behaviour and know what to do if bitten.

Be prepared. Be safe. Watch your step!

Here are some tips to reduce your risk of a snake bite

  • Be aware that we share a habitat with snakes. They could be in and around your suburban, city, or rural property.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as boots and long pants, when hiking or working in areas where snakes are present (even in your garden).
  • Avoid reaching into holes, under rocks, or into bushes without first checking for snakes.
  • Don’t be a snake charmer, people! Stepping on or touching snakes, dead or alive, is never a good idea.
  • If you go camping, keep your campsite and sleeping area free of rubbish, which may attract snakes.
  • Store food securely. The smell of food may attract snakes.

So, you ignore all these tips, and you get bitten by a snake. How does the venom get from the bite site to the vital organs where all the damage is done?

Read on…

The Lymphatic System and snake bites

Generally, Australian snake venom travels via the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of tubes travelling around the body that drains lymph fluid which has leaked from the blood vessels into the tissues and empties it back into the bloodstream via the lymph nodes.

The venom travels via these tubes to a lymph node where it enters the bloodstream and makes its way to the vital organs.

Now we’ve got problems!

Symptoms of snake bite

Common symptoms of a snake bite include:

  • Pain or swelling at the bite site.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating or fainting
  • Blurred vision or difficulty speaking.
  • In severe cases, a person may experience muscle paralysis, breathing difficulties or even death.

Pressure Immobilisation Technique (PIT) – First Aid for snake bites

Follow these steps:

  1. Get the victim to sit or lie down on the ground and call 000. Lay the victim on the ground. Laying them down helps to immobilise their lymphatic system as well.
  2. Wrap the affected limb with a large pressure bandage over the bite location as quickly as feasible. Use elasticised bandages if available. The bandage should be firm yet not restrict blood circulation. A finger should not easily slide between the bandage and the skin.
  3. To further restrict the venom’s passage, beginning at the toes or fingertips, wrap a second bandage over the whole length of the limb, By applying pressure to the leg or arm, and reducing lymphatic flow, we can delay the spread of venom. The goal is to keep the bandage tight enough to be effective without cutting off circulation. It is critical to monitor the limb and ensure it’s still warm and pink rather than cold and blue.
  4. Use a splint or a sling to keep the limb as motionless as possible. Get to a hospital as soon as possible for proper treatment.
  5. Commence CPR

If you do not have any bandages or a first aid kit, use what you have.

Remember the PIT – it might save your life!

When to seek medical attention

If you suspect a snake has bitten you, or someone you know, seek medical attention immediately and call 000. Even if the bite does not appear severe, it is still important to receive prompt medical treatment. If left untreated, a snake bite can quickly worsen and result in serious health complications or death.


Snakes can be dangerous, and it is important to avoid a bite. But, if a snake does bite you, apply the Pressure Immobilisation Technique and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Treatment for a snake bite may include, administering antivenom, pain relief, and monitoring for symptoms and signs of an allergic reaction or other complications.

The good news is, with prompt treatment, most people who are bitten by a snake make a full recovery.

Take care and be safe. Check out some of our other Blog Posts here

Sunburn and summer in a sunburnt country!

Sunburn and summer in a sunburnt country


We all know how hot and dry this time of year can be in most of Australia. Summer, combined with daylight saving – in some states, means outdoor activities, longer exposure to the hot Australian sun, and sunburn, skin cancer, and even heatstroke

Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but it’s important to take precautions to stay safe.

Australians love to get out and about – any time of the year. But we all need to recognise that all seasons bring with them their own risks to our health and safety. / ( just check out our “Wintertime” Blogs ).

The Australian sun is renowned for its fierceness. Ask any English tourist who has gone shirtless for a day on an Australian beach during summer –  OUCH!

Ultraviolet Radiation and sunburn

Sunburn is caused by overexposure to sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The UV rays penetrate the skin, leading to inflammation and redness.

There are three types of UV radiation, and these are categorised by their wavelength.

They are:

  1. UVA – can cause sunburn, DNA (cell) damage in the skin and skin cancer.
  2. UVB causes skin damage and skin cancer. Ozone stops approximately 85% of UVB from reaching the earth’s surface.
  3. UVC is the most dangerous type of UV however, ozone in the atmosphere absorbs all UVC and it does not reach the earth’s surface.

The UV Index

What is the UV Index?

As UV varies by location and time of day, the UV index helps you by providing warnings about UV levels. You can act on these warnings and take measures to protect yourself.

The UV Index divides UV radiation levels into five categories:

UV index scale

The UV Index is measured in locations around Australia by The Australian Radiation Protection And Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). This real-time data is made available on a daily basis.

To check the UV levels for your capital city go to the ARPANSA website.

Warnings regarding sun protection times are issued by the Bureau of Meteorology when the UV Index is forecast to reach 3 or above.


When the UV Index is forecast to reach 3 or above it can damage your skin and lead to skin cancer.  Sunburn is an indication that your skin has been affected by UV radiation

Sunburn can range from mild to severe, with symptoms including red, tender skin, pain, itching, and sometimes blistering.

To prevent sunburn, protect your skin from the sun’s rays by wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well as hats and sunglasses.

Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply it every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

Continued exposure to UV at level 3 or above can damage the DNA in skin cells and, if not repaired by the body repeatedly over time, abnormal cells may develop, leading to cancer.

In severe cases, sunburn can lead to fever, dehydration, and even Melanoma.

If you do suffer from sunburn it’s important to take steps to cool down and, for severe sunburn, seek medical attention if necessary.

For sunburn, you can apply aloe vera gel or lotion to the affected area to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers, to alleviate pain and inflammation.

sunburn relief

Skin cancer and Melanoma

According to Better Health:

skin cancer death statistic

There are three main types of skin cancer, and they are:

  1. Melanoma
  2. Basal Cell Carcinoma
  3. Squamous cell carcinoma

Watch this space for our blog on Skin Cancer where we will cover skin cancer in greater detail.

For now, remember that you can easily protect yourself from sun damage by

  • staying in the shade
  • using a combination of sun protection measures such as a broad-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirts, and sunscreen.
  •  and if practical, sunglasses.

Don’t just wait for hot and sunny days to use sun protection as UV and sunburn can still reach damaging levels, even on cool, cloudy days.

The Cancer Council provides a free “Sunsafe App” so you can check the UV Index anytime.


Along with sunburn, another summer health hazard to be aware of is heat stroke.

Heat-related illness occurs when the body becomes dehydrated and is unable to cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature. This can lead to heatstroke.

Symptoms of heatstroke

The skin is dry with no sweating and the person’s mental condition worsens. They may stagger, appear confused, fit, collapse, and become unconscious.

If left untreated, heat stroke can be life-threatening.

To prevent heat stroke, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Other fluids, such as sports drinks or coconut water can also prevent dehydration.

Try to avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day and take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors.

For heat stroke, you need to cool down as quickly as possible by getting into the shade or indoors and removing excess clothing. You can also soak your clothing in cool water or place a cool, damp cloth on your skin.

Drinking water or other fluids can also help to reduce body temperature and seek medical attention if necessary.


As Dorathea Mackellar superbly points out in her poem “ My Country”, Australia IS a sunburnt country, a wide brown land – just take a trip to the red centre and see for yourself.

All who live, or visit, here are subjected to Australia’s relentless sun and “Pitiless blue sky”.

Yes, summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but remember, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself and your family when out and about in the sun.

Well, that’s that. Until next time….. Stay safe.