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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Taking sting out of snake bite

A Goulburn Valley doctor has issued advice on how to deal with snake bites, after a Stewarton man was bitten near the Broken River during a fishing trip with a friend.

JOHN LEWIS January 15, 2013 4:50am

Stewarton’s Phil Brown was bitten by a tiger snake on the Broken River.


A Goulburn Valley Health doctor said anyone bitten by a snake should not attempt to walk.

Emergency department senior medical officer Dr Koonj Beharry said snake bite victim Phil Brown should have applied a pressure bandage immediately and kept his leg straight.

‘‘You could use the sleeve of a shirt — start at the end of the limb or where the bite is — and bandage upwards towards the body using a fair degree of tightness,’’ Dr Beharry said.

‘‘Then straighten the limb — you could use a tree branch or any piece of wood. The point is to avoid any use of the muscles which can spread the venom.’’

He said people should call for an ambulance rather than walk anywhere.

‘‘Or get help from friends to take you to the nearest hospital with an emergency department,’’ he said.

He said some patients could react severely to anti-venom.

‘‘You can get side-effects, but you have to weigh the benefits against the risk,’’ he said.

‘‘We usually see a good outcome.’’

Dr Beharry also warned people not to wash or suck any venom from the bite site.

‘‘We do swabs to identify the type of snake,’’ he said.

He said now was the peak time for snake bites.

He advised farmers, anglers or anyone planning a camping trip to carry a first aid kit with bandages.

‘‘It’s always good to be prepared, so you can start treatment early,’’ he said.

To read Phil Brown’s tale of an unfortunately encounter with a tiger snake during a fishing trip, pick up a copy of today’s Shepparton News.

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