Jan 31, 2018

Community Advice - Snake Bite

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Advice for the community regarding the management of patients presenting to Alpine Health Urgent Care with a snake bite or suspected snake bite.


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In November 2017, the Alpine Health Medical Consultative Committee conducted a review of Alpine Health procedures regarding the management of patients presenting to Urgent Care with a snake bite or suspected snake bite.

From the review, it was recommended that Alpine Health stock anti venom at all three Alpine Health Urgent Care sites.

The Victorian Department of Health has published comprehensive guidelines regarding the emergency management of snakebite. In cases of suspected snakebite, these guidelines require monitoring of the victim at a hospital with access to on-site pathology and critical care facilities. This means that persons presenting to Alpine Health with a possible snake bite will routinely require transfer by ambulance to a regional base hospital for further testing and monitoring.

In an emergency situation, and after consultation with an expert Clinical Toxicologist, Alpine Health clinicians now have the capacity to administer anti venom to a snake bite victim prior to transfer to a regional base hospital.

Dr. Jeff Robinson (Alpine Health, Director of Medical Services) recommends that all community members follow the advice from the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning (DELWP) with regards to living in an area with snakes:

  • If you see a snake - keep calm and try to move yourself, anyone with you and your pets away from the snake
  • Never touch or attempt to capture or hurt snakes – instead, call DELWP  on 136 186 for further advice, or call a licensed snake catcher if the snake cannot remain where it has been found
  • Have a spring clean - clean up around the house and cut lawns regularly – snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, or building materials
  • Undertake first aid training, ensure your first aid kit contains several compression bandages, and if someone is bitten, call 000 immediately
  • Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is illegal to capture, kill or harm them. Bites can occur when people try to kill snakes.

 

Immediate first aid for a snake bite can be life-saving and requires pressure-immobilization using a compression bandage and a splint. Identification of the snake is NOT required and no attempt should be made to apprehend the snake.

 

Alpine Institute, Alpine Health’s Registered Training Organisation (TOID 22575) conducts First Aid & CPR training across Bright, Myrtleford, and Mt Beauty on a monthly rotating basis. For next available training dates, visit Alpine Institute Training Dates.

 

MORE INFORMATION

health.vic

Snake Bite Patient Fact Sheet

Management flowchart and clinical pathways for suspected and snakebite envenomation

 

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)

https://www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/spring-has-not-sprung-but-snakes-are-looking-for-sun