After most expats or tourists hear, that we have venomous snakes on the island, it obviously begs the question of how they should proceed in case of a snake or bengal monitor lizard bite. Both mentioned cases may not happen very often, as we barely get in contact with these very fast and intelligent creatures. And they would also never attack us, as long we don’t corner them. But in case it happens some day, and you’re not sure if the snake was venomous or not, you should always go to the hospital just in case. The first address for people on Phangan is the Phangan Hospital on the images above. They have enough antivenin to send you safely to the Bangkok Hospital at Samui, where they have enough antivenin to get you back on track.
Here now the first aid leaflet, which I’ve nicked from Dr. Jeevan Kuruvilla. Of course with his kind permission. Thank you at this point!
1. Keep the patient calm and reassure him. Please note that 70% of snake bites are caused by non-venomous snakes and of the rest 30%, only half of them would have features of envenomation.
2. Keep the patient quiet. Don’t move the site of the bite. If the bite is on the arm, put a splint. If on the leg, splint the limb and don’t allow the patient to walk. There is no advantage of putting a tight tourniquet proximal to the site of bite, rather it would do harm.
3. Go as soon as possible to a hospital which has ASV available. Use whatever means of transport is available.
4. It is harmful to put nicks or cuts on or around the bite site. It is also not advisable to wash the wound. Both these practices ensures that the venom spreads fast all over the body.
5. Please note that even after you reach the hospital, treatment with Anti-snake venom is started only when signs/evidence of venom envenomation is noted. It is dangerous to inject Anti-snake venom without signs/evidence of envenomation.
6. It is good to be kept under medical observation for 12-24 hours after the bite. There are some snakes like Krait where the symptoms of envenomation may be observed only after 6-24 hours.
7. It is better to keep a snake bite victim nil per orally until the doctor allows to eat orally.
8. Please remove ornaments like rings, bangles, wrist bands etc. if any near the bite site as swelling of the bite site can cause problems with their removal later.
By the way… Dr. Jeevan Kuruvilla
did some very interesting writings about his snake bite treatments on patients in his hospital in India. Do the math by clicking on his name!
Yet I didn’t find any spitting cobras on Phangan, which doesn’t mean that we could have an encounter with this beautiful snake someday. But I have to warn you anyway. Especially for the safety of your pets. Especially cats and dogs often don’t take heed of their warning, and approach them frontal with below a half meter distance. Our Monocled Cobra and the huge King Cobra can also spray venom, if they get too nervous. As long you keep safety distance, you have nothing to worry. They can’t shoot it over long distance, like the Spitting Cobra. But they loose venom while they gasp from fear.
If this happens to your pet or even to yourself, please rinse your eyes with water. If you don’t do anything, it can cause enormous damage on the cornea, and often ends with a purulent infection. And an untreated infection can even lead to death.