If a snake bites your child, for goodness' sake, don't get inspired by Hindi movies and start sucking venom from the wound! There's a lot else you can do to prevent the poison from spreading and reaching the heart.
Try and get a good look at the snake. This would help the doctor identify it, and treat the bite accordingly.
Get your child away from the snake and try to calm her down.
Make her lie down on a bed or mattress.
She should move as little as possible. The more she moves, the quicker the venom will spread through the body.
It is important to remember that most snakes are not poisonous, and it is likely that your child has been bitten by a non-poisonous snake. However, if fang marks are visible, the snake was probably of the poisonous variety.
Keep the bitten limb below the level of the heart. This slows down the spread of the poison to the heart. So if your child has been bitten on the leg, she could lie down with her leg on a lower level than the mattress, perhaps on a stool.
Some advise that you should wash the bite with soap and water, and then apply an antiseptic, while others advise that it is better not to wash the bite. The doctor will be able to treat your child much better if he has traces of the venom. It is a good idea to wipe the area clean with an antiseptic and retain the wipe for venom traces.
Don't apply ice to the bite.
Tie a band or cloth about two inches away from the wound. If there has been swelling, tie the band about two inches from the swelling.
The band should be at least an inch thick, and it should be tied within 20 minutes of the bite, if it is to have any effect.
The band should be firm and tight, but not so tight that it completely blocks blood flow. A good rule of thumb is that the bandage should be loose enough for a finger to slip through.
Keep bandaging as much of the area as possible, depending on the amount of bandage you have. You could even bandage around the torso to prevent any poison which may have already started to move towards the heart.
As far as possible, DO NOT LET YOUR CHILD WALK. Remember, the limb should be moved as little as possible.
Get your child to a hospital as soon as possible.
The most important points to remember in a snake bite is to immobilise the limb and keep it below the level of the heart before getting the child to a hospital.
If your child has been bitten by any other animal like a dog or spider, the first aid is relatively the same in either case. Wash the wound with soap and water and apply an antiseptic. Always contact a doctor, whether the bite is big or small, if swelling occurs, the wound gets worse or if your child develops fever. If your child gets bitten by a tick, don't squeeze the tick while removing it, as this causes the tick to secrete further bacteria.
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- The Indiaparenting Team