Snake bites on the rise in region as weather heats up

QUEENSLAND Ambulance Service is warning Ipswich residents to remain vigilant after two people were bitten by snakes in just 24 hours.

Paramedic Alex Thompson said the Ipswich and West Moreton region received the third highest number of call-outs to snake bite incidents in Queensland this year.

He said the state was home to some of the world's most venomous snakes including the red-bellied black and the eastern brown.

"What we are seeing now are people in country areas disturbing snakes in their habitat now that it is warmer. That is why there has been a slight increase within our area," he said.

"Brown snakes, black snakes, red-bellied blacks and taipans are the most common you'll see in Queensland and they are most likely to hide in long grass and overgrown areas.

"Symptoms of a snake bite are vomiting, dizziness and lethargy," he said.

STAY CALM: Queensland Ambulance Critical Care Paramedics Adrian Gielis (left) and Alex Thompson demonstrate how to correctly treat a snake bite injury.
STAY CALM: Queensland Ambulance Critical Care Paramedics Adrian Gielis (left) and Alex Thompson demonstrate how to correctly treat a snake bite injury. David Nielsen

"Often people will think there will be two puncture marks but often it is just a graze or a red mark."

Mr Thompson said elderly patients and young children were the most at risk of dying after being bitten by a snake.

"There are two extremes that we are seeing. Older people working in their gardens disturbing wood or debris and kids on school holidays coming in contact with snakes," he said.

"The thing with snake venom is it causes your blood not to clot, so that causes problems with medication.

"The reason young children are at risk is they cannot tell us what has happened.

The first sign we might notice is that the child has become unconscious."

The Redbank paramedic said, although prevention was better than treating an injury, people needed to know what to do in the event of a snake bite.

"The most important thing to remember if you are bitten by a snake is not to wash the bite so that the type of snake can be discovered," he said.

"Tourniquets do not work. Patients need to wrap a compression bandage around the area and call for help."

Mr Thompson encouraged members of the Ipswich community to keep an eye on young children and pets, while outside.

He said residents needed to take extra care between November and March when snakes were at their most active.

What to do:

  • Call for help
  • Don't panic
  • Sit the patient down
  • Apply a pressure immobilisation band
  • Splint the limb

Topics:  ambulance service ipswich queensland snake bites

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