Beware of snakes with the start of the warmer months, Murrumbidgee Local Health District warned today.
Clinical Nurse Consultant for Emergency/Critical Care Services Anne Hawkins said snakes are starting to become active in the region as the temperature begins to rise.
“Snakes normally stay well away from people but during the warmer months they are actively looking for food,” Ms Hawkins said.
Snakes can be found in gardens and around houses, especially those near bushland.
Ms Hawkins also cautioned against going outside in the dark without shining a torch on the ground and also reaching into long grass or hollow logs without looking into them first.
“Areas around the home should be kept tidy and lawns mowed to discourage snakes. Wearing closed shoes and long pants can provide some protection when walking in bushland.
“Most snake bites are the result of trying to catch or kill snakes. Snakes should be left alone and given plenty of space. DO NOT try to catch or kill a snake,” she said.
First Aid Treatment for Snakebites
In event of snakebite, swift first aid is crucial and has been medically proven to be lifesaving.
In most cases the vast majority of venomous snakebites occur on the victim's arm or leg.
“Understanding the correct first aid is vital for treating snakebite and can sometimes make the difference between life and death,” Ms Hawkins said.
First aid procedures for snake include:
· Never interfere with the bite in any way by cutting or attempting to suck out the venom
· Don't wash or clean the venom from the skin
· Don't remove any clothing. Bandage over clothing
· Place a firm bandage to the limb commencing at the bite site, then going down to the fingers or toes and then up to the limb to the hip or shoulder
· The bandage should be as tight as you would apply for a sprained ankle
· Several bandages may be required or use whatever material is available such as clothing or towels torn into strips
· Mark the location of bite on the bandage
· Immobilise the limb with a splint: If the bite is to the leg splint the legs together. If the bite is to the arm, splint the arm to the trunk of the body
· Keep the limb still; keep the patient still
· Bring transport to the patient, never allow the patient to attempt to walk or run
· Under no circumstances should the bandage be removed until the patient has reached hospital
· Call 000 once First Aid has been applied.
All local hospitals have a comprehensive list of local species and treatment protocols.
Hospital emergency departments have access to antivenom which enables the emergency treatment of bites from black, brown and tiger snakes.
Ms Hawkins encourages all people living in or near bushland to keep bandages on hand to render first aid in the case of snakebite.
“Bandaging the snake bite immediately can be lifesaving and has been scientifically proven to retard venom flow to the central circulation,” she said.
· Clinical Nurse Consultant Anne Hawkins is available for interviews on mobile 0413 723 373.