Envenomation snake, spider, insect and marine bites

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1 Envenomation snake, spider, insect and marine bites Venomous Bites and stings Bites can be life threatening and people may have allergic reactions to these bites. If this occurs seek medical assistance urgently. Snake Bites Some of Australia s creatures are particularly poisonous, with many of the most venomous snakes in the world living here. In most cases, snakes strike swiftly and inject venom into the victim that quite often punctures the surface of the skin. This venom enters the tissue that is then absorbed by the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system consists of a network of lymphatic vessels and lymphoid organs. This network of tubes drains fluid (lymph) from the body s tissues and empties it back into the bloodstream. Signs and symptoms of snakebite are: Puncture marks Anxiety Pale, cool skin Progressive onset of sweating Rapid, weak pulse Rapid, shallow breathing Increased breathing difficulties Blurred vision, Increased difficulty speaking & swallowing Abdominal pain Nausea and/or vomiting Headache Progressing towards semi or unconscious state Treatment for snakebite: Ensure the snake is not still in the vicinity Reassure and rest the casualty Lay the casualty down Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage starting from fingers or toes and winding right up to armpit or groin If expert medical assistance is delayed you may want to further immobilise the limb by tying it to the body or a splint Get a description of the snake but: Do not wash the bite area so a venom sample may be obtained by medical staff Do not try and capture the snake

2 Applying a pressure immobilization bandage 1. As soon as possible, apply a broad pressure bandage downward on the affected limb, starting away from the fingers or toes, bandaging downward as far as possible away from the armpit or groin. Leave the tips of the fingers or toes unbandaged to allow the victim s circulation to be checked. Do not remove long sleeves, pants or trousers, simply bandage over the top of the clothing. 2. Bandage firmly as for a sprained wrist or ankle, but not so tight that circulation is prevented. 3. It is vital to immobilise the limb by securing the bitten limb to the body or a splint. This can be done by using another bandage, (if another bandage is not available, use clothing strips or similar to bind). It is very important to keep the bitten limb still. 4. Securing the limb firmly ensures that you reduce movement as much as possible in the limbs and joints. This will help restrict venom movement. Seek urgent medical assistance now that first aid has been applied. Spiders Funnel Web Spiders Australian funnel- web spiders are very venomous and are known to have caused fatalities. These spiders are medium- to- large in size, they are dark in colour, ranging from black to brown, with a glossy exterior covering the front part of the body. Males are known to be more aggressive than females and tend to be more active summer and spring. This is prime mating season, therefore, they are searching for females of their kind. Funnel web spiders are attracted to water and are often found in swimming pools. They can survive in water for several hours so don t be deceived by their frozen appearance as they can still bite when taken out of the water. They are often also found in garages and yards in suburban Sydney. Signs and symptoms for Funnel web spider bite: Pain at bite site Nausea Vomiting Abdominal pain Profuse sweating Pale, cool skin Tingling or numbness around the mouth Rapid, weak pulse Rapid onset of breathing difficulties Confusion Semi or unconsciousness, which can lead to death Treatment for funnel web spider bite: Treat as for snakebite use a PIB

3 Red- Back spider This spider has a prominent red mark on its back. The Red- Back spider is common all over Australia, and its preferred habitat is under any old building material, or inside sheds and garages. It is commonly found near human residences. Their webs are usually built in dry, sheltered sites, such as among rocks, in logs, old tires and sheds. Signs and symptoms of red- back spider bite are: Intense pain at the site of the bite Localised swelling Loss of co- ordination in the affected limb Muscle spasms Rapid, shallow breathing Nausea & vomiting Treatment for red- back spider bite: Rest and reassure the casualty Apply an ice pack or cold compress to assist with pain relief Ensure there is no unnecessary movement Do not bandage the area as this may increase pain and swelling Ant, Wasp or Bees The venom associated with these types of stings may cause a severe allergic reaction that can cause cardiac arrest and death. Anyone who is sensitive or has known allergies to these types of bites must seek expert medical aid urgently. Signs and symptoms: Evidence of a bite or a sting apparatus Itching, redness, swelling and/or pain at bite site For casualties with allergic reactions: Breathing difficulties Severe swelling Semi or unconscious Treatment for ant, wasp or bee stings Rest and reassure the casualty Remove the sting apparatus by scraping with fingernail or any other technique that avoids squeezing further venom into the wound Apply an ice pack or cold compress If evidence of an allergic reaction is present:

4 Apply pressure immobilisation bandage if appropriate Call for an ambulance Marine bites and stings Many sea creatures are venomous and a marine bite or sting can be very dangerous even cause death to its victim: Box Jellyfish Box jellyfish are extremely venomous and can kill humans. Stings from such species are excruciatingly painful, either initially or as an after- effect. Signs and symptoms for Box jellyfish sting are: Severe pain Irrational behaviour Semi or unconsciousness Cardiac arrest Treatment for Box jellyfish sting: Apply liberal quantities of vinegar to sting site for at least 30 seconds Rest and reassure the casualty Cold compress to assist with pain relief Bluebottle or Portuguese man- of- war Bluebottles have no means of self- propulsion and rely on tides, currents and wind. They usually travel in groups and are distinctive blue colour with an air bladder, which floats on the surface and trails of blue tentacles. Signs and symptoms of bluebottle stings are: Sharp painful sting Tentacles sticking to the body or limbs Dull ache spreading to surrounding joints Redness and swelling in the affected area Treatment for bluebottle stings: Leave the water immediately Remove any sticking tentacles with tweezers or gloves Immerse the affected site in hot water (but not scalding) to relieve pain If the sting does not respond to hot water then apply a cold compress or ice pack Stonefish Many fish have spines that inject venom; stonefish are a carnivorous ray- finned fish with venomous spines that live on reef bottoms, often camouflaged as a rock.

5 They are considered one of the most venomous known fish in the world. Sign and symptoms for stonefish are: Pain at the site of the sting Swelling Confused or irrational behaviour Breathing difficulties Semi or unconsciousness Treatment for stonefish sting: Rest and reassure casualty Immerse the affected area in very warm water to relieve pain Blue- Ringed Octopus The blue- ringed octopuses live in tide pools in Australia and have a powerful poison that can cause death in humans. They are considered one of the world's most venomous animals. Signs and symptoms of Blue- Ringed Octopus sting are: Difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing Nausea Progressive paralysis Numbness and tingling Progressive weakness Victims are aware of their surroundings throughout their ordeal but may be unable to respond in any way Fixed dilated pupils Respiratory failure Treatment for Blue- Ringed Octopus sting: Pressure immobilisation bandage Rest and reassure casualty Cone Snail The cone snails or cone shell are shaped roughly like an ice- cream cone. Cone shells should not be handled, as they are capable of stinging which can be fatal to humans. The shells of cone snails are often brightly coloured and intricately patterned. Signs and symptoms of cone snail sting are: A spot of blood Numb feeling of the face and tongue Progressive weakness in the legs and body Eventual collapse Respiratory arrest

6 Treatment for cone snail sting: Pressure immobilisation bandage Rest and reassure casualty Videos

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