Warnings after woman bitten by snake near Mullumbimby

PARAMEDICS are warning people to be on the lookout for snakes and spiders after a woman was bitten by a snake at Montecollum, near Mullumbimby, on Sunday.

NSW Ambulance Inspector John Brotherhood said snakes in particular are on the move, looking for food and a mate after their winter hibernation.

Insp Brotherhood said in the 12 months to August 31 this year, paramedics attended 813 incidents involving snakes and spiders, including 85 incidents on the Northern Rivers.

He said the recent hot weather had brought the snakes out.

"We're basically urging caution," he said.

"Around the home, remove piled up debris from the yard and keep lawns mowed to reduce the potential for unexpected visitors.

"Check items of clothing that have been left outside before wearing them.

"Paramedics attend many cases where people have put on boots and gloves and been bitten by spiders and even snakes which were hidden inside.

"Also, if you lift something such as a rock or log, lift so it's facing away from you."

Insp Brotherhood advised that in the event of a snake or spider bite, people should call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

He said first aid treatments varied for some snake and spider bites.

For snakes and funnel web spiders:

  • if the bite is on a limb, apply a pressure immobilisation bandage. The bandage should not cut off the circulation;
  • if the bite is not on a limb, apply direct, firm pressure to the bite site with your hands. Keep the patient still and discourage them from walking around; and
  • never cut or excise the wound. Do not attempt to suck out the venom out and don't apply a tourniquet.

For spiders (eg redbacks, white-tails, trapdoors):

  • apply an ice pack or cold compress to relieve the pain; and
  • if severe symptoms develop, seek medical aid; and
  • in the case of small children involved in a suspected redback spider bite, medical aid should be sought, irrespective of whether symptoms manifest.

To have a snake safely removed from a property call your local wildlife care organisation, a licensed pest control operator or your local NPWS Office.

Alternatively, if you need assistance or advice on snakes and other reptiles, contact WIRES on 1300 094 737.

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