Three vital steps for treating a snake bite

THE Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) is warning people to be aware of snakes and to take care while moving about this season.

"Queensland residents should be alert as the state is home to some of the world's most venomous snakes including the Red-bellied Black, Eastern Brown and Common Death Adder," QAS director, clinical quality and patient safety Tony Hucker said.

"When it comes to snake bites, prevention is always better than cure. It's recommended people take extra care to avoid snakes at this time of year."

If a snake bite does occur, the best course of action is to assume the snake is venomous and call triple-zero (000) immediately," Mr Hucker said.

Basic first aid to treat a bite include:

1. Bandage the wound but don't wash it

Avoid washing the wound as 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 more bandages are available, bandage over the bite site, and then with a second bandage start at the extremities (fingers or toes) and work up the limb.

Bandage the limb firmly as you would for a sprained ankle.

2. Keep it straight

Splint the limb to keep it straight.

Do not allow the victim to move around.

3. Relax 

Ensure the snake bite victim remains calm, as panicking will cause the heart rate to increase which will spread the poison around the body more quickly.

"One of the best ways the community can prepare for snake bite emergencies is by enrolling in a QAS First Aid course.

"The QAS offers comprehensive first aid training courses throughout Queensland to ensure people are prepared for all types of incidents," Mr Hucker said.

Deadly snakes

Most venomous snakes in Australia:

  • Inland taipan
  • Eastern brown snake (most common venomous snake in Bundaberg)
  • Western brown snake
  • Mainland tiger snake
  • Coastal Taipan
  • Mulga Lowlands copperhead
  • Small-eyed snake
  • Death Adder
  • Red-bellied black snake


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