St John Ambulance have reminded the public that with the imminent arrival of spring and warmer weather, the risk of potentially deadly bites increases as snakes become more active and people head into the garden or the great outdoors.
The message from St John is simple – call triple zero (000) immediately if you suspect you’ve been bitten by a snake or venomous spider.
St John treated 65 people for snake bites in 2016 and just last month, two people were bitten by snakes in the state.
Snakes are most common in bush and grassy areas, in particular near rivers, lakes and in coastal areas.
St John first aid training general manager Aaron Harding said WA is renowned for venomous snakes so it makes sense that all West Aussies know how to correctly treat a snake bite.
“Time is of the essence when someone has been bitten by a snake and it’s vital the patient receives lifesaving medical assistance as soon as possible,” he said.
“While waiting for paramedics to arrive, keep the patient still and calm, lay them flat and wrap a bandage over the site of the bite, then apply a pressure bandage – starting from the fingers or toes and wrap upwards as far as you can go.
“Snake bite symptoms can include headache, impaired vision, nausea, drowsiness and difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing, so keep a close eye on the patient until the ambulance arrives.”
Mr Harding said Spring also brings an increase in spider bites and bee stings, which everyone reacts differently to.
“If someone is bitten, you should apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth to the affected area straight away to relieve pain,” he said.
“If a sting results in anaphylaxis, call 000 directly and if an adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector is available, administer it immediately.”
Initial symptoms include hives, widespread swelling, nausea and dizziness.
For more first aid tips, visit stjohn.org.au.