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We also offer training at the convenience of your own premises in Gauteng only. Special arrangements can be made for 10 delegates or more outside Gauteng (This arrangement is subject to additional Travel and Accommodation costs).
Uni-Excellens training is Accredited by HWSETA and The Department of Labour. We have especially tailored all our courses to meet the requirements of various NQF Levels and standards, meaning that we issue all delegates with Certificates that are approved by The Department of Labour and HWSETA.
*All our course certificates are valid for 2 years, except for First Aid Level 1-3, OHS Manager, SHE Representative, HIRA & Incident/Accident Investigation courses which are valid for 3 years.
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If possible, make note of the color, shape, and size of the snake. This may help with treatment of the bite. Do not waste time hunting for the snake, and do not trap it or pick it up. If the snake is dead, be careful of the head - a snake can actually bite (from a reflex) for several hours after it's dead.
If it is safe to do so and you are NOT endangering your life, try and take a picture of the snake for exact identification. By identifying the wrong snake - medical personnel will not be able to administer the correct antivenom for the bite and the condition of the patient can turn fatal... View more snakes on the African Snake Bite Institute website or download their mobile app for easy access to snake information anywhere and any time.
Ensure you keep the numbers of the closest hospital with a trauma unit and ambulance service on your cellphone and call ahead to notify them of the victim's situation.
If you know you will be in the bush or live far away from the city, check whether your medical aid company provides a helicopter evacuation service in medical emergencies and record the appropriate telephone numbers.
Netcare Ambulance 082911
ER24 Ambulance 084124
Poison Information Helpline 0861 555 777
African Snakebite Institute +27 82 494 2039
Common snake bite symptoms include:
Reassure them that bites can be effectively treated in an emergency room. Restrict movement, and keep the affected area below heart level to reduce the flow of venom.
Muscle contractions speed up the movement of venom in the lymphatic system. Immobilise the victim, lay the victim down if possible and transport (or arrange transport) to the closest hospital. Ensure that the affected limb is always below heart level.
If the area of the bite begins to swell and change color, the snake was probably venomous.
If bitten on the hand, arm, foot, or lower leg, remove rings, bangles, bracelets, watches, anklets and any other tight jewellery, as well as tight clothing and shoes.
Pressure immobilisation may be beneficial and inhibit the spread of venom while the victim is transported to hospital. It should not be used in spitting cobra or adder bites where excessive swelling is anticipated, but rather for bites from the Cape Cobra and Black Mamba. The idea is not to slow down blood flow, but rather to put pressure on the lymphatic system and, in doing so, reduce the rate at which venom is absorbed.
1) Immobilise the limb and immediately apply firm pressure to the site of the bite with a hand.
2) Wrap the bite site tightly with a bandage and continue wrapping the entire limb from the bite towards the heart. In other words, bandage the limb from the bottom to the top.
3) For bites on the foot or leg, once the pressure bandage has been applied properly, splint the leg to immobilise the ankle and knee joints, and bind the two legs together to maximise immobilisation.
4) If the bite is on a hand, straighten the arm and once the immobilisation bandages have been applied, splint the straightened arm to immobilise the elbow and wrist joints. After applying the pressure bandage, check for the presence of a pulse below distal to the bandage. Check the pulse every 10-15 minutes. If the pulse is not palpable, then the pressure bandage should be removed and the need for it reassessed.
5) Do not remove the bandages before getting to the hospital - ensure that it is done safely by a Medical Professional.
4) Debunking the common Snakebite Myths
- You can suck or cut out the venom = FALSE, Snake venom very quickly attaches to the local tissue and is absorbed into the lymphatic system and very little venom can be removed by suction. Cutting may expose the wound to secondary infection.
- You can inject anti-venom as a first aid measure - FALSE, If required, antivenom must be injected intravenously by a medical doctor in a hospital environment and usually in large quantities. Anaphylactic shock can be a serious side-effect which may be fatal if not treated promptly.
- You can apply electric shock therapy = FALSE, Electric shock therapy does not neutralise snake venom.
- You can give the person pain medicine or simulants = FALSE, you do not know how the person will react to these medication when paired with the specific snake venom in the bloodstream. The person might also have an underlying medical condition which can lead to shock or further injury. Rather follow the advice of a medical professional.
- You can apply warm water, lotion or potions to the bite = FALSE, do not irritate the snake bite area, except for cleaning it with cool water and applying a sterile gauze dressing. Warm water does not denature snake venom. Also do not give the victim alcohol.
- You can apply a Tourniquet - FALSE, Arterial or venous tourniquets are not advised in most bites as venom is initially transported largely through the lymphatic system and not through veins. There is no evidence that a tourniquet could be life-saving following a snakebite
- A young/juvenile snake only develops venom when it reaches adulthood - FALSE, a young/juvenile venomous snake can cause the same fatal injuries and symptoms as an adult snake. Seek medical attention in both cases.
IMPORTANT: Antivenom is NOT a first-aid measure and, if required, should be injected by a doctor in a hospital environment. The dosage depends on the amount of venom injected, rather than the weight of the victim; a child will therefore receive the same amount of antivenom as an adult. It is common for snakebite victims that are treated with antivenom to receive at least 10 – 12 vials.
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