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Snakes are traditionally more active during the warmer months. We have seen an increase in snake sightings in Central Texas recently, presumably due to our area’s surge in urban development. Many different breeds of snakes are found throughout our region, but the snakes that are most dangerous are indigenous venomous snakes, such as: rattlesnakes, water moccasins, copperheads and coral snakes. It is important to know how to respond if you or someone you know is bit by a venomous snake.

Rattlesnake
Rattlesnake

Snake Bite Prevention Tips

  • Always be on alert.
  • Snakes are most often found in deep, ground holes, caves, bluffs, rocky areas, tall grasses, brush and water. They are often hiding under debris or fallen logs, or swimming in water—avoid these areas if possible.
  • Carry a long stick to poke at the ground while walking through tall grass or weeds.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long pants and thick boots, when working outdoors.
  • Use a flashlight while walking at night.
  • If you see a snake, back away from it slowly. Never touch a snake, even if you think it is dead—you can still get bitten!

Snake Bite Response Tips

  • If you see the snake that bit you, try to remember what it looks like (color and shape). Take a picture if you can.
  • Do NOT approach or try to catch the snake.
  • Remain calm.
  • Rapidly remove any jewelry or tight clothing worn near the bite before swelling starts.
  • Elevate the bitten body part to the level of the heart.
  • Clean the bite by wiping away from the wound with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What NOT To Do

  • Do NOT try to suck the venom out of the wound
  • Do NOT open or try to bleed the wound
  • Do NOT apply ice on the wound or submerge it in water

Stay safe!

Caroline Doyle, RN, BA
Trauma Program Coordinator
St. David’s Medical Center

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 20, 2014. How to Prevent or Respond to a Snake Bite. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from, http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/snakebite.asp

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