People must know first aid for snake bite: Expert
Gurjit Singh/ royalpatiala.in/ Patiala
With the onset of rainy season, the number of snake bite cases is bound to go up both in the rural as well as urban areas. India is recognized as having the highest snakebite death rate in the world. Six people die and 24 are disabled every hour in the country with estimated 2.8 million snake bite cases every year. One in 10 patients with venomous snakebite dies and most of the fatalities are due to the victim not reaching the hospital in time and are preventable. Everybody should be trained in first aid for snakebite causalities.
These views have been expressed by Dr. DS Bhullar, senior forensic medicine and toxicology expert of Rajindra Hospital Patiala and First Aid Trainer in poisoning cases as Divisional Commissioner (Medical) St. John Ambulance Indian Red Cross Society Patiala branch.
Further, research has shown that Primary Health Centre doctors do not treat snakebite mainly due to lack of confidence.The majority of current first aid methods adopted by victims such as tourniquets, cutting and suction and herbal remedies are completely ineffective and dangerous.It is now recommended to adopt the ‘Do it R.I.G.H.T.’ approach, stressing the need for Reassurance to the patient, Immobilization of the bitten part as for a fractured limb, Getting to Hospital without delay and Telling the doctor of any symptoms that develop, says the expert.
Further, the victim should be advised to remain calm and cool, stop body movements and given assurance of recovery. But application of tight bandage on the bitten part to decrease blood flow or sharp blade to facilitate bleeding, applying ice, chili or turmeric powder, giving hot drinks or alcohol to the patient etc. are all contraindicated as first aid measures and may prove harmful, said Bhullar.