CUDDLY: Kingaroy snake catcher, Darryl Robinson with a rescued brown tree snake
CUDDLY: Kingaroy snake catcher, Darryl Robinson with a rescued brown tree snake Matt Collins

REMAIN CALM: How to survive a snake bite

IN THE Australian summer heat, the sun isn't the only thing that has a strong bite.

Kingaroy snake catcher Darryl Robinson said this time of year was a popular one for our slithery friends.

"Brown snakes hatch in January, so it starts to get busy right through to March or April," he said.

In Australia, there are about 3000 snake bites per year.

But what is the best first aid plan if you do find yourself in a real-life version of many people's worst nightmare - being bitten by a venomous snake?

As hard as it may be to do, Mr Robinson said you have to remain calm.

"If you have been bitten, the worst thing you can do is panic," he said.

Under no circumstances should you try to attempt something out of a Hollywood blockbuster.

"Don't do things like sucking out the venom, all you are doing is transferring the poison across," Mr Robinson said.

Immediately call Triple Zero (000) and get a pressure bandage to limit the venom spreading through the lymphatic glands.

"Just sit and wait for the ambulance, do not run around like a headless chook," he said.

"If you don't move, the venom can't move."

Mr Robinson said it was a rumour that the venom spreads through your blood.

"It doesn't spread through your blood, it spreads through your lymphatic nodes," he said.

"When you put pressure on your arm, you squash those lymphatic nodes and that is what stops the venom from shooting through your body."

"Mark where the snake has bitten you, and don't wash the bite area because they will still swab to see what sort of snake it was."

Thanks to medical advances, the anti-venom, known as polyvalent snake anti-venom, will help to neutralise the bite from most snakes that are encountered in Australia and in Papua New Guinea.

"Don't worry about trying to identify the snake because we have an anti-venom these days that suits all snake bites," Mr Robinson said.

Like most things, prevention is better than cure, and if you do see a snake, make every effort to exit the situation.

"Don't get out the shovel, you are just putting yourself in more danger," Mr Robinson said.

"If you are up close with a snake and can't get away, remain completely still until it leaves."

South Burnett


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