Warning on bites and stings with change of season

Press Release

With spring upon us and the weather starting to warm up, St John is advising people to be vigilant when outdoors with snakes and spiders becoming more active around this time. 

St John State Operations Centre General Manager Phil Martin said if anyone is bitten by a snake or venomous spider they should call triple zero (000) immediately.

“Traditionally we attend to more cases of snake and spider bites in spring and early summer with 104 people treated for snake bites last financial year and 118 people attended to for spider bites,” Mr Martin said.

“Australia has around 100 snakes that are venomous and although there are only 12 species whose venom can kill, all snake bites should be treated as potentially life threatening and treated as a medical emergency.

“While waiting for paramedics to arrive, keep the patient still and calm, lay them flat and wrap a bandage over the site of the bite, then apply a pressure bandage – starting from the fingers or toes and wrap upwards as far as you can go.

“Snake bite symptoms can include difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing, headaches, impaired vision, nausea and drowsiness, so keep a close eye on the patient until the ambulance arrives.”

“If you intend to travel or venture out in the great outdoors we would recommend you learn some basic first aid, or at the very least, arm yourself with a first aid kit that includes a first aid guide and items such as pressure bandages,” Mr Martin said.

Australia has around 2,000 species of spider but most are relatively harmless to humans with the mode of first aid treatment (icing or bandaging) dependent on the type of spider.

Mr Martin said if you are bitten by a snake or experiencing anaphylaxis (allergic reaction), always call triple zero (000) immediately.

Insect stings were also more common in the warmer months and St John recommended visiting a GP or a St John urgent care centre (Armadale, Joondalup and Cockburn) for stings from bees and wasps.

Meanwhile in Term 4, St John will offer all schools across the state free first aid skills training for snake bite management.

Schools and teachers wanting to find out more about the demonstration can call 9334 1259 or email to register their school or request further information.

All participating schools will be provided with a free snake bite treatment pack.

To find out more about first aid for bites and stings, visit 

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