Flying Doctor issues new snake bite advice

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The Australian Snakebite Study is the most comprehensive of its kind.

THE Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern (RFDS SE) Section has updated its advice and procedures following the publication of a new snakebite study. The Australian Snakebite Project is the most comprehensive ever carried out, involved over 1500 patients and collated snakebite data from the past 10 years (2005-15). 

The Australian Snakebite Project threw up some surprising statistics, which challenges many long-held perceptions about where snake attacks occur and how to treat them. 

In those attacks in which the snake was positively identified, the brown snake was the most common biter (41%), followed by the tiger snake (17%) and red-bellied black snake (16%). 

Three-quarters of the people bitten are males aged in their 30s. Most snake attacks occur near houses, not in the bush. Half of all bites occurred while people were out walking, with gardening and trying to catch a snake the most common other scenarios. 

The new study has prompted the RFDS SE to reverse previous long-standing advice about the importance of identifying the colour and type of snake. 

“Staying in the area after an attack can be dangerous and recent advances in medication mean we can now treat any snakebite with a generic polyvalent anti-venom, so identification is no longer necessary.” 

To read the full update, click HERE.

 

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