Monday, January 15, 2007

Between 500 and 3,000 snake bites occur each year in Australia

Another young person has died from a snake bite in Sydney. So, just in case you find yourself on the wrong end of an Eastern Brown, or a Death Adder or an Inland Taipan or any Australian Snake or the Funnel Web Spider (but not for a Red Back or other spider).

Rest - as in lie down and don't move - stick the hand or foot that was bitten up on your backpack or a log or up hill or one your friend.

Bandage with a board bandage wraping from the body out towards the extremity - note - don't tourniquet just firm pressure like a good hand shake. don't cover or touch the wound. Most Australian snakes have grooved not hollow fangs so most of the venom remains on the skin. Washing or touching or wrapping the wound site will introduce more venom into the wound. Additionally, traces on the skin can be used to identify the snake and select the appropriate antivenin. Venom travels through the lymphatic system so your bandage is meant to stop or restrict lymphatic fluid, not blood. If you don't have a bandage you can use your jeans or a folded shirt. The lymph system has those little valve things that along with muscular contraction pump the fluid around - so not waving your bloody arm or leg around in agony will go along way towards keeping you alive. Don't move, not even to pee - just pee in your pants.

Send for help - you are with a friend aren't you? no - how about your mobile phone or a bit of shouting. If you really are out in teh sticks you may need to start a bush fire to get attention - I reckon that that will bring people looking quick smart

Don't be a bloody idiot and walk several kilometers on a hot day for help - you will be dead

For a Red Back just use ice - the venom is necrotic and slow moving any way. Reducing the circulation will only serve to increase the local effect without changing the survivability of the bite.

11 comments:

Leesha said...

I'm glad I live in New Zealand now, where there are no snakes.
I think the worst thing we have to worry about is death by hedgehog....

Steph said...

How scary! I think i would totally freak if i was bitten by a snake or spider! My only hope would be if someone calm and sensible were with me Hahaha!

babyoog said...

Snakes: I'm not a fan.

That's an awfully big range. Between 500 and 3,000? You'd think they could come up with better statistics. Not that it matters, really.

unique_stephen said...

Leesha - is there not a thistle you can step on?

Steph - Don't worry dear - if you ever get bitten just ask sombody to punch you in the head till you fall over

Babyoog - I like em myself, so parsimonious in their construction. I think that the numbers represent max and min numbers over teh last few years.

Mike Bogle said...

Do they cover first aid techniques like this in primary school in Australia? If not they probably should. Particularly in more rural areas where we are, people are much more likely to come across venomous/poisonous creatures.

I've taught our daughter to look into the grass before running out to play for example. We had a Brown Snake in our backyard a couple of years ago, and I didn't see it until I was within 2 feet of it. Fortunately it was headed away from us, because I wouldn't have had a clue what to do if it bit me.

I'm personally not afraid of snakes or spiders so much as running across them unexpectedly. I have a great deal of admiration for their hardiness and resilience in fact. They're very beautiful creatures - as long as they're not right in front of me anyway!

unique_stephen said...

They do, certainly in Scouts and just about any outdoor orientated organized activity, even surf life saving first aid.

I'm quite happy to see them too - but I don't like them on my face

Leesha said...

Nope, nothing can hurt you in New Zealand.
Unless you are a tourist and you happen to be hiking somewhere with cliffs... and fall off.

William said...

I've heard the boiling mud is not too good for tourists...

unique_stephen said...

Hola william, long time no see. Nice picks on your site by the way.

Mark said...

I think the boredom could probably kill you in New Zealand – if the snow didn't fall on your head, or as said, one fell of a hill (now why couldn't I resist that bout of Kiwi baiting? pah. too easy. must stop now.)

Mike, it's not just rural/regional areas that have snake problems – we lost a cat about three years ago from a Tiger snake bite (confirmed by the test the vet did before we had to put him down. I was devastated). The problem was the long grass in our back yard (and in the neighbour's), which is one of those problems when you're too broke to buy a lawn mower and you hate your whipper-snipper (brush cutter) from hell; and you're too busy to cut the grass. But, enough of the excuses, it was my fault the grass went wild.

Now, we teach our older son to be aware of the dangers of running into any long grass – especially near creeks and bushy areas.

But, anyway, there have been more and more snakes in parts of suburban Melbourne during the summer in recent years – some put it down to the drought affecting snake habitat water supplies.

I don't like snakes. Never have.

unique_stephen said...

Mark, have you seen the movie 'The Castle'?