The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Increasing risk of snake bites


“People bitten by snakes might display some or no symptoms. Always call an ambulance, even if you are not displaying any symptoms.” – Casey Kosch

Across the Wimmera, snakes and other reptiles are emerging from dormancy as days of hot weather increase.

In the Wimmera, venomous snakes include brown, tiger and red-bellied black snakes.

Casey Kosch, of Casey Kosch First Aid Training, said it was important to know snake bite first aid to be able to respond, if needed.

She said if bitten by a snake the person should remain calm, be still, call for help and call 000 as soon as possible.

“Do not wash venom off a bite site,” she said.

“Place a wound dressing on the bite site and apply further pressure by placing a pressure bandage, commencing at the feet or hand of the limb bitten upward in a circular motion.

“Bandage firmly, stay still and do not elevate the limb.

“After bandaging, immobilise the limb with a splint using timber or cardboard or a sling, if on an arm.

“Leave the bandage in place and check circulatio­n at regular intervals in feet and hands by making sure skin is pink and warm.”

Mrs Kosch said the person providing first aid should remain with the patient, monitor their heart and breathing rate and report any changes to a 000 responder.

She said signs and symptoms of a snake bite included a bite or scratch, pain and redness, pale or grey-looking skin, vomiting, breathing difficulty and a heart rate below 60.

“People bitten by snakes might display some or no symptoms,” Mrs Kosch said.

“Always call an ambulance, even if you are not displaying any symptoms. If treated correctly, the risk of death is extremely low.”

Mrs Kosch said snake bite prevention included wearing covered-in shoes when outside and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when tending to a garden or lawn.

“Do not leave food lying around as this attracts mice, which in turn attracts snakes,” she said.

“Do not try to touch or remove a snake you see.

“It’s also important to have a snake bite bandage or kit – we sell them at Up Tempo Café in Horsham for people who need to stock up.”

The Victorian Department of Energy, Environmen­t and Climate Action recommends ‘freezing’ when a person is close to a snake until it stops posturing and moves away, particular­ly if the snake is agitated and adopting a striking position.

It recommends keeping grass short, removing rubbish, piles of wood and other cover, such as sheets of iron or rock piles, modifying gardens to be less attractive to mice and frogs and screening doors and windows to block off potential access points to houses.

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