Sea snake bites can occur by accident either by stepping on it or when fishermen remove them from fishing nets. It is important to note that sea snakes are not typically aggressive unless provoked. Even though they are highly poisonous, only some cases of bites can cause significant symptoms.
During sea snake bites, the venom is injected by its fangs. Most have fangs that are elongated enough to pierce a wetsuit. Remember that the venom is highly toxic and potent.
What are the signs of sea snake bites?
It is important to note that a bite from a sea snake does not trigger pain right away.
- The bite site might only display a small-sized pin prick without any pain.
- The site of the bite rarely shows any reaction. An individual bitten by a sea snake does not show any signs of bruising, redness or other indications at the site of the bite, even if the venom was introduced.
Since the venom of the sea snake are categorized as a neurotoxin, the usual signs of sea snake bites manifests with 3 hours and generally include:
- Joint pain
- Sore muscles
- Paralysis in the legs
- Blurred vision
- Excessive production of saliva
- Dense tongue with difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Drooping eyelids
If there are no symptoms present within 8 hours, the injection of venom did not occur.
The amount of venom introduced could not be predicted. If an individual is suspected to be bitten by one, it must be considered as life-threatening and the individual requires immediate medical attention.
The pressure immobilization method can be used for sea snake bites.
- An elastic bandage must be wrapped around the affected extremity starting at the distal point and towards the body. Make sure that it is secure but does not disrupt with normal circulation.
- The affected extremity must be immobilized with a splint to prevent it from bending at the joints.
- The bandage should be removed for 90 seconds every 10 minutes and applied again during the initial 4-6 hours.
Make sure that the individual is calm, warm and comfortable. If an anti-venom is available, it must be given as soon as possible. It is considered effective if administered within 8 hours after being bit by the snake.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on sea snake bites is for learning purposes only. Learn how it is managed by taking a standard first aid course with Ottawa First Aid.