So far 2012 has been a dangerous year. Due to the mild winter and early
spring, most of the young snakes born last autumn survived the winter.
In some areas of the country this has led to close to double the number
of venomous snake bites. While most snake bites are not fatal, at least
two deaths have been attributed to these
bites. For example, in California last year 70 people were bitten
during April and May, in comparison to 129 this year. Georgia is running
15-20 percent above normal for snake bites.
Among the bite
stories: In May, a man shopping at a Wal-Mart in Clarkson, Washington,
saw what he thought was a stick outside the lawn and garden center. Then
the "stick" bit him. He was rushed to the hospital in Lewiston, Idaho
and treated with six bags of anti-venom for his rattlesnake bite.
this morning a man in Huntsville, Alabama, was bitten by what was
described as a brown snake while he was in a garden picking vegetables
for the disabled. He was rushed to the hospital. There has been no
update on his condition.
Although people of all ages and pets are bitten accidentally, the majority of bites happen when people try to handle
snakes. This demographic usually involves young males and alcohol. It
is best not to pick up a snake for any reason. Even a dead snake can
still release poison.
The best thing to do if you see a snake is
to move away. You don't want to put the snake into a position of
feeling like it has to protect itself. With the record heat temperatures
sweeping across the country this summer they are bound to be cranky.
Even when a snake bite is not fatal, the effects are not pleasant, with
fever, vomiting, dizziness, and severe pain.
If you do get bitten there are some things you need to do -- and not do:
- Get away from the snake.
- Try to remember what the snake looked like. This can help with your treatment.
- Immobilize the affected body part and remove any restrictive jewelry.
- Stay calm and relaxed. Keep the bite below the level of the heart.
- Do not apply a tourniquet.
- Do not try to suck out the venom.
- Get to a hospital as quickly as possible.