Assessment and management of snake bites in the emergency department
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Assessment and management of snake bites in the emergency department

Karen Chivers Nurse consultant, Emergency Department, Wexham Park Hospital, Berkshire, England
Elizabeth Adigun Emergency nurse practitioner, Wexham Park Hospital, Berkshire, England

Why you should read this article
  • To enhance your knowledge of the prevalence and pathophysiology of snake bites

  • To enable you to recognise the signs and symptoms of snake bites and how to determine their severity

  • To understand the steps that need to be taken when assessing and managing patients with a suspected or confirmed snake bite

Snake bites are a relatively rare presentation to emergency departments in the Western world. In the UK, there were 510 cases of snake bites between 2004 and 2010. However, it is important that nurses are aware of how to assess and manage these presentations and understand the importance of ascertaining information on factors such as the type of snake involved and how long the snake was biting the patient for. This article uses a case study to discuss the assessment and management of snake bites, and provides information on the steps nurses should take to manage patients presenting with a snake bite.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2021.e2113

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Chivers K, Adigun E (2021) Assessment and management of snake bites in the emergency department. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2021.e2113

Published online: 09 November 2021

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