A screenshot from the Australian Bites & Stings: First Aid Guide app.
A screenshot from the Australian Bites & Stings: First Aid Guide app. Contributed

Research shows: Young Aussies unprepared for bites and stings

JUST one in five Australians are familiar with emergency treatment for venomous bites and stings and those aged under 25 are even less prepared.

New research revealed despite Australia being home to some of the most venomous creatures on the planet, many are unfamiliar with basic first aid to treat bites and stings.

The research found just 11% of Aussies pack a first aid kit when planning a day out in the bush or at the beach and as many as 39% of respondents admitted they did not know how to perform CPR.

The research also found one in four Australians wouldn't know what to do if they were bitten or stung by a venomous creature in its natural habitat.

"Too many Australians are relying on luck and chance to deal with a first aid emergency instead of having a plan and real-time access to potentially life-saving resources,” Associate Professor Julian White, Head of Toxinology at the Women's and Children's Hospital, said.

"Knowing how to respond immediately can be the difference between survival and death.”

According to the report, young adults were the least prepared for encounters with nearly a third of 18-24 year olds admitting they would not know what to do if bitten or stung.

They were also the most likely to unintentionally cause more harm by mistreating an injury from a venomous creature.

"Tourniquets, cutting and sucking are extremely dangerous and can actually exacerbate a bite or sting,” Assoc Prof White said.

"First aid, including CPR, is an immediate priority after a snake bite.”

The research was commissioned by Australian antivenom producer, Seqirus, and it was conducted by Di Marzio Research.

Seqirus has developed a free smartphone app, Australian Bites & Stings: First Aid Guide to Australian Venomous Creatures, which contains information about Australian venomous creatures and basic first aid.

"If people have concerns about a bite or sting, they should consult a health care professional,” Assoc Prof White said.

"However, if this is not possible, they may need to initiate treatment themselves.”



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