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Paramedics called to 30 snake bites in Wide Bay

BE CAREFUL: Sssssnakes are on the moves and have prompted a warning from Gympie vets earlier this week, and now the QAS.
BE CAREFUL: Sssssnakes are on the moves and have prompted a warning from Gympie vets earlier this week, and now the QAS. Patrick Woods

QUEENSLAND Ambulance Service paramedics have joined Gympie vets in warning of the high level of snake activity now that spring has arrived, with the QAS treating more than 500 snake bite cases already this year.

With snakes and people becoming more active as summer approaches, paramedics are warning residents to be on the lookout for snakes and know what to do if bitten.

Wide Bay Chief Superintendent Russell Cooke said paramedics see an increase in snake bites at this time of year.

"Queensland is home to some of the most dangerous species of snakes, including the eastern brown and the red-bellied black snake, and all are capable of delivering a lethal bite," he said.

"Wide Bay paramedics have already attended more than 30 snake bite cases in 2016 and are expecting a spike in incidents as the weather warms up."

Mr Cooke warned people to be cautious when working outdoors or traversing in a snake's habitat, such as when out bush walking.

"If you're cleaning up your property, be careful shifting timber, iron sheeting or similar materials as snakes can be lingering nearby," he said.

"Also avoid walking through long grass, but if you have to, wear enclosed shoes and long pants and carry a compression bandage with you.

"Make your property less attractive to snakes by disposing of food properly, including pet food, and keeping animal enclosures such as aviaries clean to prevent rodents such as mice and rats."

Mr Cooke urged everyone to have a first aid kit handy to treat a bite and to have a clear understanding of what to do in an emergency.

"A snake bite can be fatal so always call 000 immediately, and keep the patient as calm as possible to reduce the spread of venom around the body," he said.

"Don't wash the wound, as the hospital may need to test the area to identify the snake.

"Bandage over the snake bite firmly, then work up the limb starting at the extremities (fingers and toes) and splint the limb to keep it straight."

QAS offers a number of first aid courses that ensure people are prepared for a range of emergencies, including snake bites. For bookings, phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or visit https://ambulance.qld.gov.au for more information.

Topics:  ambulance general-seniors-news paramedics snake bite snake bites

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