Gunnedah residents are being reminded to be wary of snakes and to brush up on first aid.
NSW Ambulance was called out to 41 suspected snakebite cases across the state in December.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Chris Wilson said knowing what to do – and what not to do – with the patient after dialling triple zero and before paramedics arrived was vital.
“Reassure and calm the patient down,” he said.
“If they do have a bandage, to wrap the bandage around the wound and then up the limb, about the same sort of tension you would use for… a sprained ankle, being sure not to cut off the circulation.”
The paramedic said never cut the wound or apply a tourniquet because that may only cause further injury.
Correct first aid was key.
“A properly applied wound dressing can delay the effects of any sort of snake bites for hours until such time as they get proper medical assistance,” Inspector Wilson said.
“Not applying the correct dressing, walking a patient, or walking after being bitten by a snake can rapidly increase the effects the snake bite has and also reduce the time that it takes for that snake bite’s venom to become fatal.”
The inspector also highlighted there was effective testing for what snake venom was involved.
“...there’s no reason why anyone should try to catch or kill a snake if they have been bitten,” he said.
“...Never clean a wound, always just apply the bandage straight over it, don’t wash or clean the wound, as this will probably reduce the ability to do any sort of venom testing.”
People were urged to be “wary” during outdoor activities.
“Snakes are going to be about, and to stay to cleared tracks when going bushwalking, wherever possible when cleaning out farm sheds or cleaning up the yard, wear boots and trousers, and don’t ever try to catch or kill a snake, just leave it alone,” Inspector Wilson said.
“Normally they will go away if not provoked.”