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Safety Tips For The Queensland Bush

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Here at www.visit-queensland.com.au, we think it's really important to keep our visitors informed about the realities (and dangers) of travel in the more remote areas Queensland.

With that in  mind, please use the information below as an opportunity to be informed and thus prepared, it is not intended to alarm or discourage people from coming to Queensland.

Crocodiles:
Queensland is famous for “The Crocodile Hunter”, Steve Irwin,, with many visitors drawn by the opportunity to view these incredible creatures.

However, viewing these animals is best  done in the controlled environment of Australia Zoo, not the coastal rivers and mangroves of Queensland.

These dangerous repltiles can be found around many rivers, freshwater creeks and waterholes and along coastal beaches of North Queensland. It is important for visitors who are unfamiliar with a particular area to always be croc wise and ask for local advice before going near the water.

Most importantly, don’t swim after dusk or early in the morning as this is when these animals are most active.

Marine stingers:
These ocean going creatures are most often known by other names such as “Box Jelly Fish” or “Portugese Man ‘o’ War” to visitors. They are most common during the summer months in North Queensland but have also been found throughout the year in the far northern regions. Marine stingers can be fatal, accidental stings by the tentacles can be relieved with instant and continued application of vinegar and get medical help as soon as possible.

Avoiding snake bites:
Although there are twelve potentially dangerous species of snake in Queensland, it is rare that you will ever see one in its natural environment. Snakes sense the vibration of approaching footsteps and tend to flee into the undergrowth when people approach.
If you see a snake, the best way to avoid being bitten is simply to leave the snake alone. You can also:

• Wear boots and trousers or gaiters when bushwalking. Do not wear sandals or thongs.
• Always watch the ground around where you are placing your feet.
• Never put hands or feet in or under logs, rocks, hollows, crevices or debris without checking first that there is no snake there.
• When in the bush, always check inside your shoes, clothes and sleeping bag before using them.
• Always try to use a torch when walking around campsites or the bush at night.
• Never interfere with a snake if pets or other people have already provoked it.
• Do not handle injured snakes. Hurt animals are much more dangerous, as they are fighting for their life.
• Know the appropriate first aid for treating snake bites.

First aid for snake bites:
Firstly, assume ALL snakes are venomous, and take the following action:

1. Do not panic. Try to remain calm, lie down and immobilise the bitten area. It is unlikely that the bite will be life-threatening.
2. Apply a bandage but do not block circulation. Take a broad bandage and bind along the limb starting at the bite area, using the same pressure as for a sprain. Then bandage down the limb and continue back up the entire limb over and above the bite area. This will help prevent the spread of the venom through the body. Do not remove the bandage. It is often easier to go over the top of clothing such as jeans rather than remove clothing. In an emergency, strips of clothing or pantyhose can be used instead of a bandage.
3. Immobilise the limb with a splint. Lie down and keep the limb completely still until help arrives. Do not elevate the limb or attempt to walk or run. Movement will encourage the spread of the venom through the body.
4. Do not attempt to catch the snake. All too often, the snake will bite again if an attempt is made to catch it. Identification of the snake species can be obtained through samples of the patient's blood or urine, and from venom around the bite area. If the species of snake still remains uncertain, a poly-antivenene may be used, which is suitable for treatment of all venomous snake bites.
5. Do not wash the wound. Any venom left on the skin will help doctors identify the snake and administer the appropriate antivenene.
6. Do not cut the wound. This will only spread the venom into the bloodstream and can cause more serious injuries than the snake bite itself.
Seek medical help. An antivenene may be required.

Photo: Supplied

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