With summer well and truly on the way, NSW Health is once again warning communities to be on the lookout for the slithery serpents and eight-legged critters.
According to figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, people in NSW are among those most likely to be bitten by snakes and spiders when out and about.
Genevieve Adamo, Senior Poisons Specialist at the Poisons Information Centre said Australia has some of the most venomous critters in the world, from the brown snake to the funnel-web spider.
Thankfully (we have) plenty of antivenom available to treat any bites. While bites from these types of creatures are rare, it’s important to know what to do and act quickly, as it could just save your life or the life of a friend or loved one.”Genevieve Adamo, Senior Poisons Specialist at the Poisons Information Centre
With the recent mouse plague and the wet and humid weather, wildlife experts have predicted an increase in the numbers of both venomous snakes and spiders.
NSW Health urges people to remember the following advice if they get bitten:
Seek immediate medical attention, even for a suspected bite. If someone has collapsed following a snake bite start CPR immediately, this can be lifesaving. If someone is bitten you should keep them still, call an ambulance and apply a pressure immobilisation bandage. Tight tourniquets should not be applied, and the bite site should not be washed, cut or sucked. Symptoms from a venomous bite can include nausea, vomiting and a headache, however, first aid should be applied regardless of whether these symptoms are present.
Most spider bites are harmless. However, if a person has been bitten by a big black spider or funnel web, it is a medical emergency. If someone is bitten you should keep them still, call an ambulance and apply a pressure immobilisation bandage, with a further bandage to the entire limb. A bite from a funnel-web can cause severe pain, sweating, vomiting, difficulty breathing and muscle twitching. A redback spider bite may result in pain and redness, but it is not considered life-threatening so does not require bandaging.
“Snake season usually peaks in late December and January but we have already seen an increase in snake bites from this time last year,” said Ms Adamo.
“The most important thing to know in a situation like this is how to perform the correct first aid. This can make a significant difference to treatment and outcomes.”