It's cool but look out for snakes

THE Queensland Ambulance Service is urging Gympie residents to keep a sharp eye out for snakes after a recent unseasonable spate of snakebites in the Gympie area and south-east Queensland.

Gympie ambulance officer-in-charge Wayne Sachs said yesterday there had been 10 cases of snakebite in the Wide Bay/Sunshine Coast in the past two weeks, including two near Gympie - one at Rainbow Beach on Wednesday and another on a 12-year-old girl at Widgee on Thursday night.

There was also a snakebite on Fraser Island last week.

The number of bites seemed "odd" for this time of year, Mr Sachs said.

QAS Brisbane region assistant commissioner Gavin Trembath said although Brisbane had a cool change in weather recently, paramedics there had also been called to a number of bite incidents, including cases at Bridgeman Downs, The Gap and Aspley.

"Although the weather's much cooler, snakes are still on the move and people need to take care, particularly when they are outside gardening, bushwalking or using public parks," he said.

"Across the region, QAS paramedics have been called to a total of 13 snakebite incidents throughout the month of April. To help prevent further bites, we're calling on the community to be alert when outside."

Mr Trembath said one of the main things to remember if bitten was to remain calm.

"Immediately dial 000, stay as still as possible and let the help come to you. As hard as it is, you must stay calm, as panicking will cause your heart rate to increase and spread the poison around your body quicker," he said.

Symptoms of snakebite can range from nausea, headache or blurred vision, through to difficulties in breathing and loss of consciousness.

First aid:

  • Don't wash the wound, hospitals can test the bandage for poison and may be able to identify the type of snake, which will aid in treatment;
  • If only one bandage is available, start over the bite site and then work up the limb. If a second bandage is available use it to start at the extremities (fingers or toes) and work up the limb. Bandage the limb firmly as for a sprained ankle;
  • Splint the limb to keep it still and don't let the patient move around. Do not "cut and suck".
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