TREAD CAREFULLY, SNAKE SEASON IS HERE Southern NSW Local Health District is warning the community of the increase in sightings of snakes and spiders in the district as summer progresses. Below are some simple but very effective first aid tips.
Spider bites Funnel web spiders and any large black-looking spiders that may be a funnel web spider, must be managed as a medical emergency. If in doubt, always treat as a funnel web bite. Calm the person and call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. Provide emergency care including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if needed. Steps to take: • apply a pressure immobilisation bandage • keep the victim from moving around • keep the bitten limb down • bandage the limb from the area of the bite to the hand or foot, then back up to the body • immobilise the limb by splinting if possible • tell the victim to keep calm • do not move them at all • wait for the ambulance. For all other spider bites, including from red-backed spiders, apply a cold compress or ice pack directly over the bite site to help relieve the pain. Seek medical assistance if symptoms, including sweating, muscular weakness, loss of coordination, nausea, or signs of infection develop.
Snake Bites In event of snakebite, swift administration of 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. First aid procedures for snake bites 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, venom is not absorbed from the outside • 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 • several bandages may be required, or use whatever material is available such as clothing • keep the limb still • 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 • mark the location of the bite on the outside of the bandage, if possible • 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 antivenom which enables the emergency treatment of bites from black, brown and tiger snakes.