Snake season is upon us

November 5, 2019

As the spring weather warms up snakes are becoming more active looking for food and to breed. Owen Johnson from the NSW Ambulance Service spent the morning at the Bingara Toy Library providing information on what to do after a snake bite.

Owen Johnson demonstrating how to wrap a bandage

Children learnt key things to do when bitten by a snake; remove yourself from danger, tell someone, apply pressure with a bandage to the bite site, call 000 and remain immobile.

Locally, three of the most common snakes in the Gwydir Shire are the Eastern Brown Snake, Red Bellied Black Snake and Black Snake. Owen reminds us never to attempt to catch or touch the snake. “It is always better to err on the side of caution,” said Mr Johnson. “It is better to get to the hospital if you believe to have been bitten by a snake; you never muck around.”

Identification can be done from the bite and paramedics are trained to treat bites and transport patients to a hospital that stocks anti-venom.

Owen educated the children on the top tips for treating the snake bite.

1. Place an eye-pad or make shift piece of fabric at the site of the bite. This can later be used to identify the snake venom.

2. Use a pressure-immobilisation bandage to wrap over the bite site, wrapping down to the end of the limb then back up as high as you can. Keeping pressure firm but not cutting-off circulation.

3. Immobilise with a splint.

4. Keep still and as calm as possible.

5. With a texta, mark the bite site with a cross and time of bandaging to allow medical staff to easily identify the site.

Owen Johnson with volunteer Joseph

Joseph and Nathan were enthusiastic volunteers, demonstrating these tips. “If they’re near you stay still and if they’re not run away”, said Joseph. “Tell your mum and dad and call an ambulance,” said Nathan when asked what his advice would be.

Preparation is key and the best way we can prepare to avoid snakes around the house is to clear unused and unwanted debris. It is also ideal to keep food sources away and avoid planting low-growing plants. Filling up holes is also recommended. Having first-aid readily available is so important.

“Please keep a bandage handy in all vehicles” Owen said.