We talked a bit about what to do when bitten by a venomous creature way back in February (See: This Really Bites Pt 2 (Venomous): https://www.firstaidbrisbane.com.au/wp-admin/post.php?post=19410&action=edit). For the most part, this covered what to do when bitten by a venomous creature, but now I’ve got a little more information on how the venom works.

There are five types of snakes that will seriously harm a person: browns, blacks, adders, tigers, and taipans. Of course, we had to have all five of those types here in Australia. I swear everything here has its own special way of being a jerk. All of these venomous snakes cause three main issues that vary depending on the snake: bleeding, muscles paralysis, and pain.

When threatened, a snake while bite at whatever it can get at; toes, hands, anything to get you to back off. Therefore, it stands to reason that a snake isn’t going to aim for a blood vessel and, instead, the poison is injected into your muscle: the meat of your limb. The venom then merges with the lymph fluid and waits to be carried around your body through the lymphatic vessels. That’s why people instruct you to hold still once being bitten by a snake—blood will continue to circulate even when you don’t move, but the fluids in your muscles won’t. However, if you don’t heed the warning and continue to dance around, the venom will travel through the lymphatic vessels up to the lymphatic trunks where the fluid then becomes blood. Then you’re in real trouble. So hold still!

Another thing I learned today, is that there would be tests done on the bite site, or on victims’ blood or urine, to identify the snake that bit them (Because people’s memory of what snake bit them is never reliable). However, there is now an antivenom that works against the five types of snake mentioned earlier called Polyvalent. No more peeing in cup and waiting to see which of the deadly snakes tried to kill you.

If you can’t determine what kind of snake has bitten you, assume that venom has been injected and seek medical treatment immediately. But know that while there are hundreds hospitalized for snakes bites every year, only two or three people actually die. As long as you follow proper procedures and seek immediate help, you’ll be fine.

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