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Ambulance service called over to 500 snake bites this year

Lismore vets are warning that brown snakes are on the move.
Lismore vets are warning that brown snakes are on the move.

WITH snakes and people becoming more active in the warm weather, paramedics are warning the community to be on the lookout for snakes.

The warning comes after Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) paramedics have been called to more than 500 snake bite cases already this year.

Summer causing an increase

Central Queensland Chief Superintendent Steven Coombs said paramedics see an increase in snake bites at this time of year.

"Queensland is home to some of the most dangerous species of snakes, including the Eastern brown and the Red-bellied black snake, and all are capable of delivering a lethal bite,” he said.

"Central Queensland paramedics have already attended more than 50 snake bite cases in 2016 and are expecting a spike in incidents as the weather warms up.”

Mr Coombs warned people to be cautious when working outdoors or walking in a snake's habitat.

"If you're cleaning up your property, be careful shifting timber, iron sheeting or similar materials as snakes can be lingering nearby,” he said.

"Also avoid walking through long grass, but if you have to, wear enclosed shoes and long pants and carry a compression bandage with you.

"Make your property less attractive to snakes by disposing of food properly, including pet food, and keeping animal enclosures such as aviaries clean to prevent rodents such as mice and rats.”

Know what to do if bitten

Mr Coombs urged everyone to have a first aid kit handy.

"A snake bite can be fatal so always call Triple Zero (000) immediately, and keep the patient as calm as possible to reduce the spread of venom around the body,” he said.

"Don't wash the wound, as the hospital may need to test the area to identify the snake.

"Bandage over the snake bite firmly, then work up the limb starting at the extremities (fingers and toes) and splint the limb to keep it straight.”

QAS offers a number of first aid courses that ensure people are prepared for a range of emergencies, including snake bites. For bookings, phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or visit https://ambulance.qld.gov.au for more information.



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