Experts warn run-ins with venomous snakes and spiders will continue to rise after recent wild weather and Australia’s ongoing mouse plague.
Millions of mice have created havoc for Aussie farmers across New South Wales, South Queensland, Northern Victoria and South Australia over the last year.
The nation has also recorded its wettest November on record, with the humid conditions and rodent plague creating a perfect storm for a boom in snake and spider numbers.
Snakes prey on mice and have attracted a significant number to the communities impacted by the plague.
Wet weather is also the perfect climate to encourage movement of bugs and frogs – another drawcard for a hungry snake or spider.
People in NSW have been identified as the most likely to be bitten by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Genevieve Adamo is a senior poisons specialist at the Poisons Information Centre.
She said snake season usually peaks in late December and January, but there has already been an increase in bite reports since this time last year.
“We have some of the most venomous critters in the world, from the brown snake to the funnel-web spider,” Ms Adamo said.
“While bites from these types of creatures are rare, it’s important to know what to do and act quickly, as it could just save your life or the life of a friend or loved one.”
What to do if someone is bitten by a snake?
NSW Health warns even if you just suspect a loved one has suffered a snake bite, it is essential you act immediately.
“If someone has collapsed following a snake bite start CPR immediately, this can be lifesaving,” NSW Health warned.
“If someone is bitten you should keep them still, call an ambulance and apply a pressure immobilisation bandage.”
Symptoms from a venomous bite can include nausea, vomiting and a headache, however, first aid should be applied regardless of whether these symptoms are present, NSW Health advises.
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What should you do if someone is bitten by a spider?
While most spider bites are harmless, if someone is bitten by a big black spider or funnel-web, this is a medical emergency.
NSW Health warns a bite from a funnel-web can cause severe pain, sweating, vomiting, difficulty breathing and muscle twitching.
A redback spider bite may result in pain and redness, but it is not considered life threatening so does not require bandaging.
“The most important thing to know in a situation like this is how to perform the correct first aid. This can make a significant difference to treatment and outcomes,” Ms Adamo said.