Brown snakes of a lareg size are prolific in the Gympie region this snake season.
Brown snakes of a lareg size are prolific in the Gympie region this snake season. Rachel Vercoe

EXPLAINED: 9 things you must do when bitten by a snake

WITH highly venomous snakes on the move in a big way in the Gympie region right now, local snake catcher Julie Smith said it is crucial residents know how to treat a snake bite.

The experienced wildlife expert who has dealt with snakes all over the world, said acting on misinformation can lead to crucial time being wasted.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not crucial to identify a snake when you are bitten, she said.

YESTERDAY: Snakes hitting Gympie region thick and fast

The use of polyvalent antivenom in Australia contains the an ampoule for the most common venomous Australian snakes such as browns, tigers, blacks, deaths and taipans.

Instead of concentrating on identifying the snake, the most important thing is to keep the patient calm and still so the body is not stimulated to spread the venom.

If you are the only person at the scene, it takes priority over calling an ambulance, she said.

 

The red-bellied black snake, common in Gympie, is the third most-likely to strike snake in Australia.
The red-bellied black snake, common in Gympie, is the third most-likely to strike snake in Australia. Rachel Vercoe

Recent changes to the St John's ambulance first aid for snake bites means there are important steps to follow before calling for help.

She said it is important to find out where the bite is, which is often not obvious.

"It is rare to see puncture marks because the fangs of Australian snakes are very, very fine," she said.

Now, the first step in treating a bite is to put a small dressing on that collects the venom for identification before the compression bandage that stops the venom getting into the lymphatic system.

 

STEP 3: A compression bandage being applied to the whole limb, leaving the fingers exposed.
STEP 3: A compression bandage being applied to the whole limb, leaving the fingers exposed. Kevin Farmer

FIRST AID FOR SNAKE BITES

1. Put a small, clean dressing over the bite to absorb the venom for testing

2. Put a single, small bandage directly over the dressing to keep it in place.

3. Next, use a large compression bandage to wrap the whole limb- start at the extremities and bandage up towards the body, going over the small bandage and all the way up to armpit/groin.

4. Leave fingers/toes visible to be able to check for circulation.

5. Use a splint or sling to immobilise the limb

6. Keep the patient calm, still and lying flat

7. Call the ambulance

8. Mark the bite site on the outside of the bandage

9. Make a note of the time of the bite for medical staff

Gympie Times


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