It's another wet season in North Texas and you know what that means. It's time to hone your reptile radar so that you can protect your family and pets from getting a snakebite. Also, be aware of snakes that are already dead, as in the case of a man who was bitten by the severed head of a rattlesnake. Or snakes that play dead, but may really be alive, says Nathan Holbrook, MD, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Medical City Weatherford in an NBC DFW report.

Snakebites require full-service emergency care.

Medical City Lewisville's Emergency Medical Director, James Doyle, MD, agrees that your first action should be to get full-service emergency care for a snakebite.

"The reason that it's important to go to a full-service emergency room as soon as possible after a snakebite is because they can produce an array of symptoms, including pain and swelling, nausea, convulsions and even paralysis," he said. "Quick treatment is essential for the best outcome."

Case in point: In the summer of 2016, Medical City Lewisville treated Lane Smith, then an 18-year-old high school student who was bitten by a copperhead snake while playing the wildly popular Pokemon Go smartphone game. Arriving first at Medical City ER Flower Mound with his parents, he was stabilized and transported to Medical City Lewisville for further observation and treatment.

Top tips for snakebite prevention.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services offers this advice for preventing snakebites:

  • Even if you don't think a snake is poisonous, don't attempt to handle or play with it unless you have the proper training
  • Keep your yard or campsite well-manicured; snakes love to hide in brush, inside logs or pipes and under rocks and leaves
  • Wear appropriate clothing, including long pants and boots, in areas where snakes may inhabit
  • Watch where you step and place your hands when outside; most snakebites happen because people accidentally get too close to or step on a snake

Never try to suck the venom from a snakebite and other tips.

Follow these helpful tips if you can't avoid a snakebite:

  • Don't panic
  • Keep the bitten extremity even with the heart; raising it will circulate venom to the heart faster and lowering it will create additional swelling and pain
  • Only try to identify the snake (snap a picture if possible) if it's safe to do so
  • Never ice a snakebite; it can further damage tissue surrounding the wound
  • Never cut an “X” over the snakebite; this can also cause more damage
  • Never try to suck venom out of a snakebite; it won't work and you may introduce bacteria from your mouth into the wound

Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services across North Texas.

At Medical City Healthcare, we're dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you'll Take Care!

For more information, call our Ask a Nurse hotline 24/7 or use Find a Doctor online.

You can also get care for minor injuries or illness at CareNow Urgent Care or visit Medical City Virtual Care for non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.

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Revised 7/8/2021

The post Do You Know What to Do in a Snakebite Emergency? appeared first on LifeSigns in 2017.