It’s summer in Texas which means the sun is out but so are the snakes.
There’s nothing more dreadful than seeing these cold-blooded creatures slither around while you’re enjoying a nice day or evening outdoors. These scaly reptiles are known to run rampant during the summer months as they come out to warm themselves in the sun or on rocks.
Texas is home to many species of snakes who enjoy roaming around in search of food or shelter and chances are you may come across one, even in your backyard. These unwelcomed visitors may startle you and even cause you to panic, especially if you’re bitten by one.
Snakebites in the summer are common, therefore it’s important to learn how to treat them if you are bitten by one. Keep reading to learn about how you can protect yourself from a venomous snakebite.
Every year, nearly 8,000 snakebites happen in the U.S. according to the CDC. Although not all snakebites are venomous, the CDC recommends you treat all snakebites as if they were venomous for safety and visit the nearest ER as quickly as possible.
A trip to the ER, can save your life, especially in cases where you are unsure if you were bitten by a venomous snake.
Texas is home to four kinds of venomous snakes:
- Coral Snakes
The Coral Snake is red, yellow, and black in color and contains a small mouth. Although they are a shy species of snake and not aggressive, their bites are dangerous, but usually rare. Only one of the species of Coral Snakes are native to Texas.
Copperheads belong to a group of venomous snakes called Pit Vipers. Copperheads, Cottonmouths, and Rattlesnakes are all called pit-vipers because they have a pit near each nostril. Their nostrils are highly sensitive to heat which helps the snakes locate warm-blooded prey. They are gray or brown in color with a copper-colored head and are great at camouflaging with leaves and forest grounds.
Also known as the water moccasin, these types of snakes are found generally near water. Their habitat includes swamps, ponds, lakes, ditches, canals, and marshes along the Gulf Coast and are more prominent in East and Central Texas. This species of snake can grow to be nearly 6 six feet and are very defensive and aggressive reptiles. They can bite underwater and when threatened will open its mouth to show its fangs which is white and cotton like in color.
There are nine kinds of rattlesnakes found in Texas. Before striking, rattlesnake will usually rattle if they feel threatened. However, in some cases, they may strike immediately. They are more active at night when they hunt for prey such as mice, rats, and rabbits.
Signs & Symptoms of Venomous Bites
These are the most common symptoms of venomous snakebites:
- Bloody wound discharge
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clotting
- Fang marks in skin
- Severe pain at the bite site
- Skin discoloration
- Burning sensation
- Excessive sweating
- Blurred vision
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness and tingling in mouth
- Breathing difficulties
- Rapid pulse
If you’ve been bitten by a snake, seek medical attention right away for snakebite treatment. It is very critical you respond quickly if you or someone you know has been bitten by a snake. While waiting for emergency help, do the following:
- Wash the bite with soap and water
- Keep the bitten area still
- Monitor breathing and heart rate
- Cover the bite site with a cool compress
- Remove any jewelry near bite site in case of swelling
- Record details regarding type of snake including its size, color, and any other helpful details you can remember
- Record details regarding the time the bite occurred, the time of the initial reaction, and if possible, draw a circle around the bite site to mark the progression of time
Note: When a snake bite occurs, it is very important you DO NOT do the following:
- DO NOT apply a tourniquet
- DO NOT try to suck the venom out
- DO NOT ingest any alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or any other medications
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve been bitten by a snake and begin showing signs and symptoms of a snakebite or infection, seek medical attention immediately at one of our Trusted ER locations near you. Remember, treatment of snakebites is more effective if begun right away.
We have 3 locations where we provide the best-in-class healthcare to patients in the most comfortable environment with exceptional care. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you spend time lots of time outdoors hiking or camping, or in picnic areas, or live in snake-inhabited areas, you may come in contact with a snake.
However, there are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of being bitten by a snake. To avoid snake bites, do the following:
- Avoid tall grass areas
Stay out of tall grassy areas to avoid being bitten by a snake. Cover up by wearing thick leather boots when walking in tall grassy areas. This will protect you in case of accidentally stepping on a snake in the woods. Remember to try and remain on hiking paths as much as possible when hiking or walking in wooded areas.
- Leave the snakes alone
If you spot a snake, do not mess with the snake, or try to kill the snake. Even if the snake, appears to be dead, do not try to touch or disturb the snake. Snakes generally do no attack unless they feel threatened. For this reason, many people are bitten as a result of getting too close to a snake or trying to kill a snake. Therefore, leave the snakes alone.
- Do not pick up rocks or firewood with your bare hands
When hiking or climbing, it’s important to protect your hands by keeping them out of areas you cannot see. Do not pick up any rocks, firewood, or other things on the ground unless you are out of a snake’s distance to strike. Additionally, always be cautious and alert while hiking or climbing rocks.
Summer Safety Series
For more in-depth tips on how you can stay happy and healthy and prepare for a fun and safe summer, check out our Summer Safety Series. And remember, if you or someone you know has an emergency, we are here for you and are ready to treat any illness or injury.
Trusted ER is “Doing the right thing. Every patient. Every time.”