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Posted on 16 Jan 2019
Clinical/acute care
Emergency care

During hot weather snake activity can increase. Which is why we’ve updated our guidance on managing snake bites to ensure it’s clear and easy for clinicians to access and use.

While presentations for snake bites are not common in Victoria, our guidance will ensure that health services can provide the best possible care to patients in an emergency situation.

The guidance was reviewed by an expert group with updates made based on their recommendations.

Read the guidance on managing snake bite

What’s changed?

We’ve added more detail – including information on pressure bandages and immobilisation, snake venom detection kits and location of care.

We’ve also updated the clinical pathways and management flow chart to ensure they are clear, easy for clinicians to use, and importantly, align with medical records requirements.

Recommendations

Our guidance recommends that snake bite patients be treated in a location with access to antivenom, critical care facilities and a 24-hour laboratory for blood tests.

A pressure bandage with immobilisation is the recommended first aid for a potential snake bite. Bandages should be broad (15cm), elasticised, and not self-adherent.

We also recommend that snake venom detection kits only be used by a hospital pathology technician, to reduce the risk of misidentification, false positives and false negatives.

Read more recommendations in the updated guidance 

More information

Emergency Care Clinical Network

emergencycare.clinicalnetwork@safercare.vic.gov.au

Page last updated: 16 Jan 2019