Snake Bite Season

Snake Bite Season
By: Wendy Ray

Many of us are grateful we had a pretty mild winter, so you probably don't think about the consequences of it later on in the year. Snakes are one of those consequences and if you don't like them,

you probably wish it would have been a lot colder! There's a possibility there will be more snakes out this summer which means there are more chances for people to be bitten. Heartland ER workers are getting ready for snake bite season.

A timber rattle snake sits in its home inside a cage at the Nature Center in Cape, but snakes like it are out across the Heartland and will bite if bothered. Southeast ER worker Brenda Bowman says, "Typically we see cotton mouth, copperhead, and timber rattlers." One person has already come into the Southeast ER with a copperhead bite. Patients are treated with Crofab, new antivenin for snake bites. "It is quite expensive and it's a lot better than the antivenins used previously because people don't have allergic reactions to the new antivenin. If you give it, it can treat just about anything," Bowman says. It may take ten to 18 vials to treat one snake bite; ERs will have plenty of Crofab this year. "Our winters are milder therefore people tend to think we'll see more snakes," Bowman adds.

If you're bitten by a snake, stay calm. If you don't stay calm, your heart rate will increase and will cause the venom to spread. Hold the bite below your heart. Don't cut the bite because it will cause tissue damage. Don't apply ice or cold packs, and seek emergency help immediately. Try to remember you don't have to panic if you see a snake; chances are most of them are harmless.

Bowman advises that if you are bitten by a snake do not catch it and bring it into the ER. People have brought snakes into the ER before, but she warns everyone not to do it because you put yourself at risk for getting another bite.