There are few things that scare people as much as the thought of being bitten by a snake. Roughly 46,000 people die of snakebites in India every year. But what’s really sad is the fact that most of these deaths are entirely avoidable. A snake bite is not as big a problem as the lack of awareness about how to treat it. The depiction of snakes in popular movies as well as mythology makes matters worse.

Immesnakediate medical attention is crucial, but here are a few handy tips on the first level of care that needs to be administered when someone is bitten by a snake.

1) Move the person beyond striking distance of the snake.
2) Keep the person calm and at rest, reassure him/her – Being bitten by a snake can be extremely terrifying, so it’s important to calm the victim down and reassure them
3) Wash the bitten area with soap and water to remove any venom on the skin.
4) The wound must be below the heart so that flow of blood from the area is reduced.
5) Remove any jewellery from the area that was bitten. Similarly, remove shoes if the leg or foot was bitten.
6) Immobilize the affected area by a splint.
7) Cover the wound with loose, sterile bandage
8) Manage for shock
9) Ensure an ambulance has been called. Transfer to hospital is absolutely essential

DO NOT
1. Try to catch the snake
2. Cut a bite wound
3. Attempt to suck out venom
4. Apply tourniquet, ice, or water
5. Give the person alcohol or caffeinated drinks or any other medications

Building awareness is key when it comes to mitigating the effects of snake bite to prevent death. Dedicated training programs to handle emergencies such as snake bites should be undertaken by corporates, residential societies, rural panchayats to help prevent avoidable deaths.

We, at Doorstep Health Services, have undertaken several training camps to help raise awareness on emergency care. Write to us at care@doorstephealth.in to know more.

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