In the rural areas or countryside where snakebites are most frequent, transfer to a hospital may not be feasible within a reasonable time frame of a few hours. In that case, at a community level must cope with the emergency as suggested below:
- Check history of snakebite and look for obvious evidence of a bite (fang puncture marks, swelling of the bitten part).
- Immobilize the whole patient as far as possible and especially the bitten limb and give reassurance.
- Arrange transport of the patient to medical care as quickly, safely and passively as possible by vehicle, boat, bicycle, stretcher etc. Ideally, the patient should lie in the recovery position (prone, on the left side) with his/ her airway protected to minimize the risk of shock and inhalation of vomit.
- Discourage time wasting and potentially dangerous traditional treatment such as tight ligatures (torniquets), incisions, suction and application of herbs, ice, chemicals, "snakestones", etc.
- If the snake responsible has already been caught or killed take it with the patient but ensure safety and avoid direct contact.