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"Keep Calm, Don't Move"

In October 2018, 3 people were bitten by snakes within four hours across country Victoria during this spring’s first a hot Sunday afternoon. No one died.
In Australia, there are about 3,000 snake bites per year, resulting in about 500 hospital admissions; on average two persons per year will be fatally bitten. About half the deaths are due to bites from the Eastern brown snake. (The Eastern brown snake is the second-most toxic land snake in the world and is commonly found along the eastern seaboard of Australia AND most likely in your work area).
The rest of the fatalities are mostly from Tiger snakes, Taipans, King Brown and Death Adders.

If you come across a snake, don't panic. Back away to a safe distance and let it move away. Snakes often want to escape when they are disturbed.

“Keep calm, don’t move”
All snake bites must be treated as potentially life-threatening. If you are bitten by a snake, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

  • Keep calm and as still as possible until medical help arrives. Do not move at all. As you move, even your fingers, it makes the venom travel through your lymphatic system quicker.
  • Apply a bandage over the bite site, to an area about 10cm above and below the bite. (Mark the spot for the Dr’s). Don’t remove the shirt or pants - just bandage over the top of clothing.

Remember movement (even wriggling out of a shirt or pants) causes venom movement.

  • Then using another elastic roller bandage, apply a compression bandage from the fingers/toes all the way to the armpit/groin.

The bandage needs to be firm, but not so tight that it causes fingers or toes to turn purple or white.

  • Splint the limb so the patient can’t walk or bend the limb.

“Keep calm, don’t move”

What is the Lymphatic System?
Snake venom does not spread through the blood stream as some people believe. Venom is more likely to spread through the lymphatic system if the you keep moving or don't settle your heartbeat. (Admittedly easier said than done!)
When bitten, a snake injects venom into the body under the skin (subcutaneous) or into the  muscle of your limb (NOT into your blood stream) and the venom travels through your body in the lymphatic system. The only way that the venom can get into your blood stream is to be moved from the bite area by lymphatic vessels. This is done when you physically move the limb(s) that was bitten.
The venom in the lymphatic vessels moves around with physical muscle movement i.e. when bending your arm, bending knees, wriggling fingers and toes, walking/exercise etc.
The Lymph fluid moves to the neck and after passing through subclavian veins where the venom does enter the blood stream.
“Keep calm, don’t move”
The importance of the identification of the snake that causes the bite is important however not paramount. There is a generic snake antivenom called Polyvalent Snake Antivenom. It is an injection designed to help neutralise the effect of the venom of the Eastern Brown, Tiger, Taipan, King Brown and Death Adder.
Polyvalent Snake Antivenom is given to those people who become ill after being bitten by an unidentified snake. It is better to use the appropriate antivenom for that snake; the size of the injection will be smaller and less likely to cause side effects
In Victoria (tiger and brown snake antivenom) and Tasmania (where tiger snake antivenom) is used.
Venom identification kits can also accurately identify the type of snake in 30 minutes, and thus reliably and safely reduce the need for administration of polyvalent antivenom.
But in all instances when bitten, “Keep calm, don’t move”