Bites and stings

bites and stings, ambulance when to call

There are many Australian animal and insect species that bite or sting. In general, most bites and stings, such as those from mosquitos and ants, are not serious and don’t require medical treatment. If the bite or sting is from a dangerous spider, snake, or the person is having an allergic reaction, then first aid should include phoning for help (call 000).

In the event of a venomous bite or sting – bandage the wound with a firm elasticised bandage – working upwards and keep the person calm and immobile until medical help arrives.

Do not remove the bandage at any stage

Do not apply a tourniquet

NOTE: Applying firm pressure immobilisation to a Red Back spider bite can cause more damage to the tissue around the bite site. It is recommended to apply a cold pack to help with pain. Ensure that ice doesn’t come into direct contact to the skin for more than 20mins.

Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance in an emergency and apply Basic Life Support – DRS ABCD if the person collapses or stops breathing.

References used for this bites and stings page

More information:

Better Health Channel
Bites and stings – first aid

Australian Museum
Insect bites and stings

National Poisons Information Centre
Call 13 11 26 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne
Insect bites and stings

Victorian Poisons Information Centre
Bites and stings

Clinical care:

Joondalup Campus
Nurse practitioner – Emergency Services Clinical Practice Guidelines: Bites and Stings [PDF 135kb]

Queensland Health
Pressure immobilisation technique

Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne

Research & reviews:

Medical Journal of Australia
Anaphylaxis to stings and bites

Fast facts:

Bites and stings

  • Many Australian animals and insect species can bite or sting.
  • Firmly bandage the site of the wound and try to keep the person still.
  • Seek medical advice as quickly as possible.


Last updated: 25th October 2016