In the last few weeks there have been a few snake sightings on the trails, and this has resulted in a few references to snakes, snakebites, first aid and bandages in the comments of recent posts. I thought I’d summarise some of these comments into a single post for those looking for this information. Because I might be the sucker that needs you to treat me 😉
Simulated Snakebite Scenario
Dr Cheryl Martin demonstrates the pressure immobilisation technique for the immediate management of a suspected snake bite. Please be careful on your runs an keep your eyes open.
St John first aid fact sheet – Snake bite
If you are not comfortable with remembering the required steps, print a copy of this sheet and put it into a snaplock bag with your bandage.
Personally I’d also mark where the snake bite is on the outside of the bandage with a pen/texta, or use Cheryl’s loop method, so the ambo’s know where to take the venom ID test swab.
The other item that I’d suggest you review is the type of bandage in your first aid kit. I recommend that you don’t use the standard broad crepe bandage. Why? As it turns out, crepe bandages are vastly inferior when it comes to slowing the effects of snakebite. Luckily, there is a solid alternative. For some time now Bush Search and Rescue has recommended the use of a Setopress bandage in the case of snake bite. (Crepe bandages still have their uses, as they can be used to bandage a sprained ankle or to add a splint to a broken limb).
The Setopress bandage is wider (10 cm) and longer (3.5 m) than most crepe or elastic bandages and has a continuous series of green and brown rectangles printed along it’s length that assist you in getting the correct tightness. … The brown indicators are the ones you should use for treating a snakebite. When the brown indicators become squares (the maximum pressure) lymphatic return should be minimised reducing the circulation of any venom. The squares are also offset slightly so if you cover the squares with each wrap of the bandage you should get the right amount of overlap.
Setopress Bandage for Snakebites
A similar product is the SMART Snake Bandage by Survival Emergency Solutions