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  • Writer's pictureHannah Phillips

Slithery Sightings in Flow Regions Require Snake Safety

As the weather warms up, a number of snakes have been sighted across Flow regions, with SA Ambulance Service reminding people to remain vigilant and clued up on snake safety.

Anita had the story on the Country Viewpoint.

South Australian paramedics have responded to 48 snake bites across the state this year alone, with Chief Executive Officer Jason Killens reminding people the importance of calling triple zero (000) immediately if someone is thought to have been bitten.

“Our clinicians are experts at responding to these cases but there are also steps you can take,” Mr Killens said.

“In many cases our emergency call takers will explain how to perform life-saving first aid over the phone, all while an ambulance is on the way.”

Intensive care paramedic Chris Cotton said medical understanding of snake bite first aid is evolving.

“Keeping a snake bite victim at complete rest, and monitoring them for deterioration are just as important as pressure bandaging,” Mr Cotton said.

“Whilst death from snakebite in Australia is rare, it is important to be ready to perform CPR immediately if a snakebite victim becomes unresponsive and stops breathing regularly.

“Cardiac arrest is the most serious potential consequences of snakebite.

“If a defibrillator is close by, send someone to fetch it in case it is needed.

“Bandaging any bitten limb is still important.

“Ideally a firm, elasticised crepe bandage should quickly be applied along the whole length of the bitten limb, including over the bite site.

“If people don’t have a bandage available, strips of clothing could be used instead of a bandage.

“Unfortunately we occasionally still see people using tourniquets to treat snake bites which can lead to a loss of blood flow and be more detrimental to the patient.

“It’s important not to wash venom off a bitten area as it can be used to determine which type of snake has bitten the person and what treatment may be needed at hospital.”

Dealing with a snake bite:

  • For all snake bites, provide emergency care including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if needed.

  • Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

  • Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage and keep the person calm and as still as possible until medical help arrives.

  • Avoid washing the bite area because any venom left on the skin can help identify the snake.

  • DO NOT apply a tourniquet, cut the wound or attempt to suck the venom out.

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