There’s a bigger threat in Australia than snakes, sharks and crocs


In a report released in March from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) it was stated that 3500 Aussies were hospitalised in 2017-18 due to interaction with venomous plants and animals.

Bees accounted for 26 per cent of those hospitalisations, while 12 of the 19 deaths caused by bites and stings were also blamed on bees. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me, even though you rarely hear about bee-sting deaths in the media.

We had an encounter with a bee sting a few years back that was anything but pleasant. It was in remote Russia on our overland jaunt across that vast country when Viv was stung by a bee, which had settled in a gin and tonic she was enjoying camped in a sunny glen beside a lovely flowing stream. Stung on the lip, the reaction was quick and frightening with a dramatic skin reaction, swelling of the face and a weak and rapid pulse.

We immediately administered some antihistamine medicine, applied a wet, cool cloth to the face and stood by with an EpiPen in case the swelling started to move down to her throat and airways. Luckily it didn’t, but the swelling of the face lasted for weeks.

On the other hand, shark attacks are big news with each and every bite being recorded, even though in the 10 years up to 2018 more people were killed in Australia by bees and wasps – 27 all told, compared to shark fatalities that numbered 26.

Spider bites put 666 people in hospital during 2017-18, with nearly half of them caused by redbacks. White-tailed spiders and funnel-web spiders were the next in line as culprits. Interestingly, there were no deaths reported from spider bites, which is a good thing.

Snakes accounted for just over 600 hospitalisations and, while in more than a third of cases the snake couldn’t be identified, of those that could 215 were by brown snakes, 83 by black snakes and 65 by tiger snakes. Sadly, seven deaths were caused by snake bites that year.

Some 393 people were hospitalised due to marine animals and plants including box jellyfish, Irukandji jellyfish and blue-ringed octopus.

Interestingly, in the AIHW report, it was young and middle aged men (61 per cent in total) who were most likely to get bitten or stung; while people living, working and travelling in remote or very remote locations also topped the list.

So to be prepared, we now carry a range of antihistamines and an EpiPen, plus an extensive first-aid kit whenever we go bush, for its not only bees and wasps but ants – jumping jack ants are notoriously bad – for causing allergic reactions.

We also use a free phone app – Australian Bites and Stings: First Aid Guide to Australian Venomous Creatures. Make sure you get it, and a first-aid kit – you never know whose life it’ll save!

Article reproduced from whichcar

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Zac Zacharia (Managing Director) has been assisting clients to create wealth and secure their futures for over 14 years.

He is also an accomplished presenter and educator

Co-authoring the popular investment book, Property vs Shares.