What’s Going Around? March 24, 2015

Ross Tobleman, MD, Medical Director at Scott & White Hospital – Round Rock Emergency Department has seen the first snake bite of the year. With the weather getting warmer out, people are outdoors spring cleaning in their yards and need to be careful.

The snakes are coming out of hibernation and they’re hungry.

To ensure your safety from snakes, follow these safety tips from Dr. Tobleman:

  • Be familiar with the venomous snakes in the area you live.
  • Treat all outdoor snakes as if they are venomous. Even nonvenomous snakes can bite, which can lead to an infection.
  • Remember, most snake bites occur from people trying to capture or kill the snake, so it is advised to leave the snake alone and get a professional to assist you.
  • Always wear shoes when walking outdoors.
  • If you encounter a snake, back away slowly and leave the area immediately. Most snakes are docile and will only strike if they feel threatened.

If you happen to be bitten by a snake that you believe to be venomous, here is what you do:

  1. Don’t panic! Take some deep breaths and get to the hospital, you can also call the Central Texas Poison Center on the way at 800-222-1222.
  2. Do not try to lance and suck the venom out. This is not effective and proves to be a waste of precious time you need to be using to get to a hospital.
  3. Do not apply ice (you don’t have time to be worrying about making an ice pack when you are supposed to be on the way to the hospital).
  4. Do not tourniquet the area you have been bitten…again, why aren’t you on your way to the hospital?
  5. Do not worry about catching or killing the snake to show the doctors what bit you. Read up on venomous snakes in your area and know how to identify them.

Familiarize yourself with the venomous critters in the area you live. Know what they are, what they do, and where they hide. The Central Texas Poison Center can also be a great resource for information on the dangerous snakes in Central Texas that lurk among us.

If you have been bitten, wash the area with soap and water. Remove stingers or venom sacs if present and get to the hospital immediately.

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What’s Going Around? March 24, 2015