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Majority of Australians don't know how to treat bites

Even though 79% of Australians say they know what to do in the event of a snake bite, a new survey has shown that only 42% of people could actually identify the correct first aid procedure.

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Alarmingly, nearly 10% of people thought that you should suck the venom from a snake bite. And only a third of people knew what to do in the case of a funnel web spider bite.

"In an emergency we have a good ambulance system, so call 000 to seek urgent medical advice," says Associate Professor Julian White.

"However, it will usually take a little time before that assistance can reach you, so knowing what to do with first aid, and applying correct first aid is really important."

That's why he is promoting the Australian Bites and Stings app, which features information and pictures of venomous snakes, spiders, aquatic creatures, jellyfish and creepy crawlies, with maps showing how they are distributed around Australia. It also includes an audio resuscitation guide, as well as a step-by-step guide to DRSABCD and the Pressure Immobilisation Technique.

There are around 3,000 snakebites in Australia each year, with recent figures showing around 550 hospitalisations and an average of two deaths per annum. Importantly. the majority of bites occur in regional or rural areas. That's why Professor White is urging North-East residents to download the app.

"Venomous animals are more likely to be encountered outside of urban areas," he says.

"So anyone living in or travelling to those areas particularly need to understand what is the correct first aid for bites and stings, which is why the app is particularly important for them, to increase the chance that the person bitten or stung will have a good outcome."

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