St John warns over snake bites

Photo: St John WA.
Photo: St John WA.

St John WA has urged the community to be familiar with first aid after a surge in snake bites.

From July 2018 to June 2019, 169 people were treated by paramedics for snake bites compared to 104 in the previous year.

Summer was the worst period, with January recording 25. October was the next highest month with 21, as temperatures rose and snakes became more active.

More than two-thirds of cases occurred in regional areas.

St John WA first aid general manager Aaron Harding urged the community to learn appropriate snake bite first aid.

"In the past 12 months we've seen a marked increase in snake bite emergency calls to the point where paramedics likely treated more people last year than any other period on record," Mr Harding said.

"Five of the world's 10 most venomous snakes live in Australia and unfortunately there are still many myths surrounding snake bite treatment. Our message is simple, but could be lifesaving - know first aid, even it's at a fairly basic level."

Mr Harding said the first thing to do in the event of a snake bite was to call 000.

Patients should lie flat, remain calm and still, and then bandage the bite starting from the fingers or toes and wrapping upwards.

Common symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, nausea, drowsiness and difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing.

Mr Harding also urged people to download the St John First Responder app, which can dial 000 and provide the operator with your GPS location.

St John is also encouraging those walking in bush areas to have a first aid kit with them.