Health & Wellbeing

Snake Savvy in the Illawarra – Stay Smart in the Slithery Season!

FIRST AID COURSE SPECIAL OFFER // Use the code FOLD for a $15 discount on the HLTAID011 Provide First Aid Course at Accidental Health & Safety Illawarra. 

Venomous Visitors? No Worries! Here’s How to Keep it Safe with Scales Around.

As the weather warms up, Illawarra’s landscapes burst into life, and so do its reptilian inhabitants. Snakes like the Red-bellied Black and the Eastern Brown, common in our region, are emerging to bask in the glorious sun.

These species, while venomous, play a pretty important role in our ecosystem and are naturally inclined to avoid human interaction.

But here’s some tips from the professionals at Accidental Health & Safety on what to do if you do run into one of our slithery locals and some handy advice on dealing with a snake-bite.

What to Do When You Meet a Slitherer

In the event of a snakebite, what actually happens inside your body? Contrary to common belief, the venom doesn’t enter the bloodstream straight away. Instead it typically enters the lymphatic system.

Unlike blood, lymph fluid is moved along by our muscles, so any movement can hasten the venom’s spread. That’s why staying still is so crucial. It’s a technique the Jaanga First Nations people’s understood. A common way they dealt with a snake bite was to lie down still for a number of days and have people tend to them.

Pressure Immobilisation Technique (P.I.T.) – A Step-by-Step Guide

Apart from staying still, something else can make a huge difference in slowing the flow of venom: applying pressure to the affected limb.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Wrap a bandage about 4-5 cm above the bite site to a similar distance below.
  2. Continue to wrap the bandage from the lower end of the limb upwards, covering the first bandage and extending to the top of the limb.
  3. Use as many bandages as necessary to cover the entire limb.
  4. Use a permanent marker or other means to mark on the bandage where the bite was. This will make things easier when getting treatment at the hospital.
  5. Immobilise the limb completely, using a splint or by tying it to the body if needed.

Busting Myths and Taking Names

Capturing the snake is unnecessary and dangerous. With the availability of universal antivenom, it often doesn’t matter, and if needed the type of snake can often be determined by swabbing the bite site (so don’t wash it) And forget about a tourniquet; it’s an outdated method that can damage tissue and vessels.

Be Prepared – It Could Save a Life

To become proficient in snakebite first aid, consider taking a course. There are many Wollongong first aid courses that offer hands-on practice of these techniques.

We’ve even scored a sneaky saving for ya! If you use the code FOLD you’ll score a $15 discount on the HLTAID011 Provide First Aid Course at Accidental Health & Safety Illawarra. 

For more detailed guidance on snakebite first aid, visit this super helpful resource.

Encountering a snake might be a little daunting , but with the right knowledge and actions, there is no need to panic.

Stay still, apply the P.I.T., and educate yourself on the facts.

The Illawarra is rich with natural beauty, which includes our reptilian pals. Let’s respect and coexist with them safely!

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