Learn first aid for a snake bite using the pressure immobilization technique. The pressure immobilization technique is not only for treating snake bites. Use can use it for most venomous bites and stings. The idea is to slow the venom’s movement into the circulatory system. This buys time until the arrival of advanced medical care.
The information in this post is from the book “Wilderness and Travel Medicine” by Sam Fury.
Wilderness and Travel Medicine is a comprehensive handbook with a minimalist approach. It contains prevention, diagnoses, and treatments for a wide range of ailments using modern and “survival” medicines.
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Treating a Snake Bite with the Pressure Immobilization Technique
IMPORTANT: No amount of reading can compare to a medical course with a professional trainer. A standard first aid course is good. A Remote Area First Aid Course or higher is best.
When applying the pressure immobilization technique, keep the patient as still as possible. Especially the site of the venomous snake bite. Do not elevate the wound.
In general, only apply the pressure immobilization technique for:
- Australian snakes, all species.
- Blue-ringed octopus.
- Funnel-web spiders.
- If possible, use an elastic roller bandage.
- Bandage upwards from the lower part of the bitten or stung limb, and continue up as high as possible. Each wrap should overlap the last.
- Ensure the bandage does not impair perfusion.
- Mark the location of the bite on the bandage.
- Immobilize the limb.
- Check perfusion often as continued swelling may impair it.
Note: Do not bandage bites/stings to the head or torso. Keep patient still and seek medical care ASAP.
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