snake bite

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Re: snake bite

Postby north-north-west » Fri 31 Jan, 2020 5:44 pm

Three degrees of separation.

I wonder how closely the snakes were related.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: snake bite

Postby slparker » Sat 01 Feb, 2020 5:27 pm

Last fatality in Tas was 1977... The amount of space dedicated to snakebites on the forum seems a little over the top.
So far as I can ascertain there has only ever been one bushwalker fatally envenomated by a snake in Tasmania.
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Re: snake bite

Postby rcaffin » Sat 01 Feb, 2020 7:48 pm

So far as I can ascertain there has only ever been one bushwalker fatally envenomated by a snake in Tasmania.
I doubt that is true.
One guy got bitten on the bum in the mid-60s while we were on the OT. Runners went S, doing stages. But I think he died.

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Re: snake bite

Postby slparker » Sun 02 Feb, 2020 9:20 am

@ Roger, it was in 1948 at Pelion hut.

According to that authoritative source: Wikipedia. If you can find evidence of another bushwalker that has died of a snakebite in Tassy I won't be offended.

Looking at the newspaper records, rabbiting, muttonbirding and being a child seem to be the biggest risk factors, although records from the 60s and 70s are missing on Trove.
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Re: snake bite

Postby rcaffin » Sun 02 Feb, 2020 10:26 am

Um.
I was in DuCane Hut in the 60s when the runners went through for help, but I was asleep. It may be that I have confused that incident with the one in 1948 when Taffy died. We have a plaque on a knoll in the bush near our farm to Taffy:
Taffy1.jpg


If that is the total of the bushwalking fatalities, then I suggest the hype and paranoia over snake bite is just that. Sure, we see plenty of snakes (weight 1 kg?) in the bush, but they don't want to argue with us (weight 64 kg).
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Re: snake bite

Postby slparker » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 9:26 am

FYI,
In the past I have written about the issues with using a setopress bandage to treat snakebite.
The setopress is an excellent bandage for this purpose, as it is highly elasticated, but it has been marketed in the past as being suitable for snakebite if the first aider applies it using the squares on the bandage as a guide for pressure. As I have described in the past this bandage is designed for treatment of venous ulcers and is designed to provide pressure (when using the squares as a guide) less than that to treat a snakebite on the leg.

I have just been speaking to the manufacturer of dedicated snakebite bandages produced by Aero Healthcare. I made an enquiry as to whether these bandages are manufactured for purpose or are re-branded venous ulcer bandages.
The manufacturer described that the bandages are made in consultation with the AVRU (Venom research unit) at University of Melbourne and are designed to provide pressure required by the guidelines (40-55 mm Hg pressure) - if the squares on the bandage are used as a guide. This means that the upper range provided by the bandage meets the minimum recommended to provide compression on the legs.

This is encouraging information as, if the bandage is used as intended, it is likely that these bandages will deliver an adequate amount of compression assuming good bandaging technique, good manufacturing tolerances and testing by the manufacturer.

I am not endorsing this bandage or endorsing it over other manufactures of specific snakebite bandages (if they exist) or implying that the bandages will provide the exact pressure required as I don't believe that these come under the Therapeutic Goods Administration and there are likely to be real world variables.

The use of bandages such as these does not replace good judgement and first aid training but it is likely to be the best starting point for treatment of pressure part of PIM as getting the right pressure is notoriously difficult. Even if the pressure provided by the bandages is approximate and with a wide margin of error (which is quite possible given real world variables) bandages of this specification are likely to be a useful guide for minimum pressure.
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Re: snake bite

Postby rcaffin » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 11:31 am

Ah, snake bite: a beloved topic for much hot air and torrents of hype, but very little fact.

On average there are two deaths from snake bite per year for the whole of Australia.
Almost three-quarters of snake bite victims were male, and 20% of them were bitten while trying to pick up or kill the snake, and 1/3 of them were bitten on the foot or ankle.
The more interesting statistic is that more than half of the bites happen around the home, and that definitely includes urban areas.

Compare all that with the deaths on the road per year, and you might prefer to stay in the bush rather than drive home. It could be a lot safer.

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Roger
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Re: snake bite

Postby slparker » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 11:44 am

True, Roger, but; as well as go bushwalking, readers on this forum also live and work in urban and rural areas where exposure to risk may be greater and many have dependents who may fall into the higher risk category.
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Re: snake bite

Postby rcaffin » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 11:48 am

readers on this forum also live and work in urban areas
Do you carry a snake bite kit in your daily routine at home or going shopping?

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Re: snake bite

Postby slparker » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 11:54 am

rcaffin wrote: readers on this forum also live and work in urban areas
Do you carry a snake bite kit in your daily routine at home or going shopping?

Cheers
Roger




People on the urban - rural interface get bitten by snakes, children playing in creeklines in urban areas get bitten by snakes. The risk is low but children are very much at risk of snakebite in both urban and rural areas.

I don't know you or whether you have children or grandchildren but yes, if one of them gets bitten by a snake in an urban or rural park and someone has a first aid kit in their car with the best possible means of treating your loved one you will be probably be less of a smartarse about it.

Or maybe not.
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Re: snake bite

Postby Lamont » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 2:42 pm

Thanks Splarker.
Been most interested in your updates. Thanks for following this through.
I think the 'hot air' comment which appeared right on the back of your latest update is unfair and unnecessary.
The information was just stating what people like myself had asked for way back-was it last Summer? I asked for updates on the bandage at the time.
That's what I got.
The Tiger in this photo -almost exact centre -then follow the stripes towards the top right then back down etc, has it's head above a rock casting a shadow, had just struck at my left calf missing by about 15cms, I'd estimate. Click on the photo twice which zooms and it's much easier to find.
Looked down at it's open hood as it struck.
Out walking on my own, no phone signal.
Hence my particular interest.
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Re: snake bite

Postby rcaffin » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 3:31 pm

Ah yes: the passing car driver with an adequate first aid kit in his (her) car - maybe 5% of the population, if you are lucky!

And of that 5%, maybe 5% might have a knowledge of how to PROPERLY handle a snake bite, without cutting or sucking, if you are lucky!
Hum ...

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Re: snake bite

Postby north-north-west » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 3:33 pm

If it missed by that much, it was a warning strike and not a serious attempt at a bite.
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Re: snake bite

Postby philm » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 4:21 pm

Wow it is vary hard to spot and light in colour unlike most tigers in Tassie. I can see how you came so close.
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Re: snake bite

Postby slparker » Tue 18 Feb, 2020 4:56 pm

rcaffin wrote:Ah yes: the passing car driver with an adequate first aid kit in his (her) car - maybe 5% of the population, if you are lucky!

And of that 5%, maybe 5% might have a knowledge of how to PROPERLY handle a snake bite, without cutting or sucking, if you are lucky!
Hum ...

Cheers
Roger


That is a non-sequitur, Roger, and you're being a blowhard.

Yes, snakebite is rare, which I have repeatedly pointed out, bt a compression bandage is an essential for haemorrhage control and splinting in any domestic or wilderness first aid kit anyway - so if you think that there is an increased risk of snakebite to you or your family, and you are not confident with applying the compression required, then the use of a bandage with indicators is a good investment if you are contemplating replacing your existing bandage.
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Re: snake bite

Postby CraigVIC » Mon 24 Feb, 2020 9:17 am

I rarely see snakes and when I do it's just their tail sliding away. I always tell my kids not to overly worry about them, they're more scared than you etc.

Yesterday I was out walking with my daughter on a closed mvo road. About 5 mtrs ahead I noticed a snake lying in the sun. Well it noticed us at the same time, reared up and started lunging at the air while coming straight at us. It only came a meter or so towards us then started rolling on itself hissing and snapping until we had retreated 10 mtrs or so. Then it just laid down again.
To say I was a bit shaken and panicked by this is understatement although we were nowhere near being bitten.
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Re: snake bite

Postby rcaffin » Mon 24 Feb, 2020 10:01 am

Sounds as though the snake was pretty scared.
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Re: snake bite

Postby crollsurf » Mon 24 Feb, 2020 10:35 am

Talking about Snakes and children, probably best not to point snakes out, if the child has already past.
Walking with my son who was about 4 at the time, he walks straight past a little black snake, I stopped, checked out the snake and then called out, "yeah, look at this snake". He panics, runs to me, treads on the snakes tail, snake turns around and strikes!!!

Fortunately the snake had a mouse (or something similar) in its mouth so couldn't bite. Not sure how the snake faired in the encounter but it was able to slide off into the bush with said rodent still in its mouth. Son tramatized and in tears.
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Re: snake bite

Postby north-north-west » Wed 26 Feb, 2020 12:12 pm

Coming down a nice little hill a couple of days ago, paying more attention to the view than the ground, only noticed the snake - one of the biggest tigers I've seen - less than half a metre from where my foot landed, when it quietly slithered off into a more peaceful piece of scrub.

They can't eat us, so using venom is wasteful unless it's life or death for them. Don't harass them, don't corner them and try not to surprise them and the chances or being bitten are somewhere down near zero.
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Re: snake bite

Postby Zapruda » Wed 26 Feb, 2020 1:44 pm

north-north-west wrote:They can't eat us, so using venom is wasteful unless it's life or death for them. Don't harass them, don't corner them and try not to surprise them and the chances or being bitten are somewhere down near zero.


Wise words.


This one was slithering next to me without a care in the world the week before last. I was off track and up a slope and just about to head down and cross the Valentine to Mawsons. I believe that area has one of the largest concentrations of Copperheads in the park, or that's where I see them the most.

Interesting creatures...
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Re: snake bite

Postby Ms_Mudd » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 4:19 pm

Am going through my gear and ditching surplus as I go. Happily have reduced my 1st aid kit weight by 60%- yes it was over the top.

I have 2x compression bandages left in my kit, one is standard compression sort and size- 45g, other is wide/long compression at 105g.

I would not scrimp on weight *ever* for safety's sake, but going through my gear did make me ponder this; If solo and bitten by a snake, would the movement involved in applying 2x compression bandages to yourself be counterproductive? As in, the more you move, the more your body shunts the venom through the lymphatic system. I wonder what best practice is when solo?

I will say that I do work in health, but have nothing in my training or clinical experience that answers my query.
As others have said, a few close-ish encounters with snakes over the years when I have surprised them, but mostly they get the heck away as soon as they can. I would think the chances of being bitten are small.
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Re: snake bite

Postby north-north-west » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 4:28 pm

Ms_Mudd wrote:I would not scrimp on weight *ever* for safety's sake, but going through my gear did make me ponder this; If solo and bitten by a snake, would the movement involved in applying 2x compression bandages to yourself be counterproductive? As in, the more you move, the more your body shunts the venom through the lymphatic system. I wonder what best practice is when solo?

I once read about a young lad who was bitten by a venomous snake whilst out fishing;. he calmly packed up and walked home, where an ambulance was called. He survived.
It takes time for the toxins to move through the system, and a brief low level of activity is not going to hasten the process dramatically. Splint and bandage as soon as you've called for help[ (phone/PLB).
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Re: snake bite

Postby commando » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 5:23 pm

The most snakes i have seen in one day is 9, in a dried up Little River Gorge near the Snowy River and a highly remote area
with various puddles of water every few hundred metres and at every puddle there was a red bellied black snake
we picked a camp site and there was 2 brown snakes hanging around and without a tent sleeping bivvy under a tree it was a long night
at about 4am i heard a pack of at least 20 dogs hunting and running after prey possibly a roo they were less than 100 metres away
also another reason not to sleep.
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Re: snake bite

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 5:33 pm

Definitely apply the bandages ms mudd. It takes time for the venom to spread, the effort required to apply the pressure bandages isn't going to amount to much compared with how much they slow the spread.
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Re: snake bite

Postby Ms_Mudd » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 6:10 pm

Thanks guys. It is what I would have done, prior to my musings today. Work avoidance is a fine thing for the deepest of ponderings :roll: :lol: I guess setting PLB off, sitting down, applying compression and then laying very, very still waiting for help would not get the system pumping too much. Hope to never find out best practice in real life of course.
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Re: snake bite

Postby rcaffin » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 6:28 pm

Walking with a heavy foot will very often scare them away so you never see them.
Watching where you are going also helps.

My wife was stepping over logs on the sandy bank of Coxs River one fine sunny day when I saw her levitate, move sideways a metre, and then continue walking. The black snake disappeared in another direction. They really do want to avoid us.

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Re: snake bite

Postby Tortoise » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 6:37 pm

north-north-west wrote:It takes time for the toxins to move through the system, and a brief low level of activity is not going to hasten the process dramatically. Splint and bandage as soon as you've called for help[ (phone/PLB).

I agree for sure with the bandaging and splinting. I would do that first, though, then call for help (at least putting on the compression bandage). Is anyone here experienced in remote first aid?
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Re: snake bite

Postby Ms_Mudd » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 6:49 pm

They absolutely want to avoid us, my closest encounters have involved the element of surprise for the snakes (and me!) in situations where I have been trail running or on my mountain bike. I swear my feet were up under my chin and definitely off the pedals last time I nearly clipped a brown :shock: I guess the moving faster gives them less time to get out of your way.
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Re: snake bite

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 6:51 pm

Tortoise wrote:
north-north-west wrote:It takes time for the toxins to move through the system, and a brief low level of activity is not going to hasten the process dramatically. Splint and bandage as soon as you've called for help[ (phone/PLB).

I agree for sure with the bandaging and splinting. I would do that first, though, then call for help (at least putting on the compression bandage). Is anyone here experienced in remote first aid?


As in had training or as in had experience in the field? I've done remote area and wilderness first aid courses but haven't had to test myself in the field.
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Re: snake bite

Postby slparker » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 7:33 pm

Tortoise wrote:Is anyone here experienced in remote first aid?

I was an Army medic for 12 years and wrote much of the first aid package for the army back in 2001. I have treated snakebite a couple of times in the field and also in my second career as an ICU nurse. I don't consider myself an expert but I used to teach combat first aid and have extensively researched snakebite.
If I was bitten whilst walking solo, as I often am (walking solo, not being snakebitten), I would treat as much of my leg with a compression bandage that I could comfortably reach, hit my PLB and then lay still under a tree and perhaps brew up and wait for help.

You can't splint your own leg (well not easily) and you won't need to if you lay still. Trying to walk out whilst envenomated is not smart.

As I have always maintained the chances of snakebite are vanishingly low whilst bushwalking and the chances of survival, if bitten, are very high.
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