Bites and Stings

Animal / Human Bites

  1. Examine the wound to see if the skin is broken.
  2. If there is bleeding, allow moderate bleeding of the wound as this helps to cleanse the wound.
  3. Wash the wound with an antiseptic soap or detergent. Apply a dressing and bandage.
  4. If the skin was broken, get medical help as soon as possible.

Insect Bites / Stings

  1. Assess the casualty for signs of breathing difficulty.
  2. For serious reactions that affect breathing or cause swelling of the airway, assist the casualty to take his own medication i.e. Epi-pen®.
  3. Examine the sting site closely, looking for the sting that may still in the skin.
  4. Remove the sting carefully by scraping it and the attached poison sac from the skin.
  5. DO NOT use tweezers, fingers or anything that may squeeze more poison into the body.
  6. Apply rubbing alcohol to the sting site or a paste of baking soda and water, or ice.

A downloadable and printable infographic of this information can be found here.

Spider Bite

  1. Clean the area around the bite.
  2. Apply an ice pack (15 minutes on and 15 minutes off) to numb the area.
  3. Keep the limb below the level of the heart in order to slow the spread of poison.
  4. Get medical help if muscle cramps begin.

Snake Bite

  1. Make sure there is no danger of a second snakebite to either the casualty or yourself!
  2. Place the casualty at rest in a semi-sitting position and keep the affected limb below heart level. By placing the casualty at rest, the venom will not spread as quickly.
  3. Flush the bite with soapy water if available. DO NOT apply cold compresses or ice.
  4. Immobilise the limb.
  5. Transport the casualty to medical help as soon as possible.


  • Most snakes will be within 10 metres of the place where the bite took place – BE CAREFUL!
  • If the snake has been killed, take it to medical help for identification.
  • AVOID touching the dead snake’s head as it may still have a bite reflex.
  • DO NOT cut the puncture marks or try to suck poison out with your mouth.
  • DO NOT let the casualty walk if other methods of transportation are available.
  • DO NOT give the casualty alcoholic beverages.

A downloadable and printable infographic of this information can be found here.

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