The Government of India, Health & Family Welfare Department in collaboration with the WHO, has prepared a National Snake Bite Management Protocol to provide doctors and lay people with the best, evidence-based approach to dealing with snakebite in India.
It has been also observed that a majority of current first aid methods adopted by victims such as tourniquets, cutting, suction and herbal remedies, are completely ineffective and dangerous.
Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Associate professor J V Dixit said, "The attempt is to introduce a standardized treatment and judicious use of the anti-snake venom (ASV). It has been observed that the ASV is administered even when it is not required or in doses well in excess of the required amount."
ASV if given unnecessarily can also prove dangerous to the patient. "India is recognized as having the highest snake bite mortality in the world. Most of the fatalities are preventable and occur due to the victim not reaching the hospital in time."
"Research has shown that primary health care (PHC) doctors do not treat snakebite mainly due to lack of confidence. At the secondary and tertiary care level emergency departments, multiple protocols are followed mainly from western textbooks which are not appropriate for Indian settings," he said.
"It is now recommended to adopt what has been called the 'Do it R.I.G.H.T.' approach, stressing the need for Reassurance, Immobilization as per a fractured limb, Getting to Hospital without delay and Telling the doctor of any symptoms that develop," said Dinesh Shukla, Pediatrician.
As per the protocol, a 20-minute whole blood clotting test (20WBCT) in the diagnosis and management of viperine bite is needed. It has been recommended not to give NSAID for pain management as it causes more bleeding and also not to give morphine, which can cause respiratory failure.