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V1.6.10 (T344, R003bb76b9)
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Poisonous animals
Cnidarians (Jellyfish, Corals and Anemones)
Venomous fish
Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Ants)
Sea snakes
Terrestrial snakes
Miscellaneous animals
North America
Mexico and Central America
South America and the West Indies
North Africa, Near and Middle East
Central and Southern Africa
The Far East
Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
Australia and the Pacific Islands

Diagnosis & Treatment — First aid / lay people


General problems

  • Fear,
  • collapse, loss of consciousness.
F  First Aid
  • Calm the patient.
  • Place the patient in a stable lateral position, or possibly the Trendelenburg position (shock position).
C  Comments

Anxiety (fear of death) plays an important role following accidents with venomous animals and has an additional negative influence on the clinical course after an accident.

Loss of consciousness after an accident with a venomous animal can have many causes. It is important to place the patient in a stable lateral position to avoid aspiration. If peripheral circulatory failure is present, the shock position may improve the patient's condition. If resuscitation is necessary, it is only in exceptional cases that lay people will be sufficiently well trained to be able to intervene.

How can absorption and circulation of the venom be delayed?

F  First Aid
  • Compression-immobilisation method or comparable methods and splinting of the bitten extremity (Sutherland 1991, Sutherland and King 1991, White 1987b, White 1991).
  • Avoid pressure points when applying the splint (padding).
  • Transport the patient.
C  Comments

The compression-immobilisation method was developed in Australia (Sutherland et al. 1979, Sutherland et al. 1981a).

Australian elapid bites are characterised by an absence of or only negligible local effects, in particular swelling and necrosis. Thus there is generally no risk of a build-up of arterial occlusion pressure under a compression bandage. Members of the Pseudechis group represent an exception to this rule. Pseudechis australis bites in particular can cause extensive swelling.

Average time between the bite and death

Minutes to hours.

C  Comments

This information makes it possible to assess the probability of reaching medical facilities in time and, barring other circumstances (see above), justifies the use of a tourniquet for elapid bites.