Alert issued about bites and stings: St John Ambulance

Snakes come out of hibernation as it becomes warmer.
Snakes come out of hibernation as it becomes warmer.

AFTER a spike in calls to paramedics last spring and summer, St John Ambulance is urging people to protect themselves from snake and spider bites and bee stings.

The organisation responded to 17 snake- bite emergencies from last September to February, one of its busiest six months recorded.

First-aid training team leader Rondel Dancer said people could reduce the risk of snake bites by wearing protective clothing such as thick gloves, long-sleeved shirts, pants and enclosed footwear.

“It is particularly important to take preventative measures if you are near waterways, bushland and long grass,” she said.

If someone is bitten by a snake, Ms Dancer said to keep them still and calm.

“Lay the patient flat and call 000 for an ambulance. In the meantime, wrap a bandage over the site of the bite then apply a pressure bandage – starting from the fingers or toes and wrap upwards as far as you can go,” she said.

“It’s vital you continually monitor their condition for deterioration.

“Snake-bite symptoms can include headache, impaired vision, nausea, drowsiness and difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing.”

She said there was no consistent reaction to spider bites and bee stings, so an ice pack wrapped in cloth should be applied to the affected area.

“The next course of action will depend on your reaction to the bite or sting – you may require no further treatment or could need to follow up with the GP. However, in a small number of cases paramedic care may be required,” she said.

“If a bee sting results in anaphylaxis, call 000 and if an EpiPen is available, administer immediately.”