App for those unprepared for venomous encounters

Recent research has shown that many people are unprepared for the dangers that some of Australia’s creepy-crawlies and venomous creatures pose.

With summer the peak time for encounters with such creatures, nearly half of the respondents in a new survey commissioned by antivenoms producer Seqirus said they were unsure or not confident when it came to first aid for venomous bites and stings.

The survey of 1,049 people looked at how people prepare for summer, finding that many may not prepare for the potential dangers of enjoying the sunny weather outdoors. Only 11 per cent of respondents agreed that refreshing their knowledge on first aid for bites and stings from venomous creatures was a top priority ahead of summer, behind activities such as weight-loss programs, diets and planning a holiday.

Incidents with venomous creatures including snakes, spiders and marine animals were reported to cause 41,521 hospitalisations in Australia from 2001 to 2013. Despite these statistics and Australia’s fearsome reputation as the home to many deadly, venomous creatures, many people could be unprepared.

To support #NoStingsSummer, a free smartphone app, Australian Bites & Stings: First Aid Guide to Australian Venomous Creatures, has been developed and includes a new function that provides users with information about which venomous creatures are most relevant to a specific geo-location.

The survey indicated that 18-29 year olds are three times more likely to prioritise buying a new summer wardrobe and body tone than getting clued up on how to deal with deadly bites and stings.

More than half of surveyed parents of children aged under 18 are either unsure or not confident on how to treat venomous-creature bites or stings.

Millennial Australians are the least likely to know how to deal with encounters with venomous creatures, with only 45 per cent of respondents in this demographic confirming they would know what to do.

People in rural Western Australia are the least confident about dealing with bites and stings from venomous creatures, with nearly two-thirds of this group of respondents confirming they would not know what to do or were unsure.

Even in South Australia, the most confident region, 37 per cent of surveyed SA inhabitants remained unsure or not confident about how to deal with venomous bites or stings.

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