Get ready for snake bite season

Houston medical expert warns about venomous snakes

Published On: Mar 20 2013 02:51:47 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 20 2013 06:58:55 PM CDT
HOUSTON -

In 2012, Houston’s regional poison center had 235 reports of snake bites, including 148 from known venomous snakes, according to a medical toxicologist at Baylor College of Medicine.  “I am sure many more are going unreported,” said Dr. Spencer Greene.

“Many people don’t realize how much of an issue snake bites are in this area of the country,” said Greene.  He warns that warmer weather coaxes snakes out of hiding, and it’s important to know what to do after a snake bite.

According to Greene, the first step is avoidance.  “Never reach into a hole or a bush blindly, a snake may be resting there,” he said. “It is also important to maintain an appropriate distance from a snake. Most pit vipers, which include rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins, can strike at a target up to two-thirds of their body length when provoked.”

Greene said the management of snake bites has changed over the years and the newer type of anti-venom has proven to be effective in reducing pain, bleeding complications, swelling and tissue damage. Although anti-venom has been shown to have the maximum effectiveness within the first 12 hours of the bite, it can still be effective a few days after the bite.

At the hospital, physicians will determine if anti-venom and hospital admission is necessary.

“Ideally, patients should be evaluated by a medical toxicologist with experience in managing snake bites,” said Greene.

If bitten by a snake, the expert has this advice:

Greene also dispels several myths about treating snake bites and suggests heeding the following advice:

 “Ideally, patients should be evaluated by a medical toxicologist with experience in managing snake bites,” said Greene.

 

Snake bites can be deadly

Published On: Mar 20 2013 02:38:48 PM CDT

An expert at Baylor College of Medicine says that many people don't realize how prevalent snake bites are in Texas.

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