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Oklahoma experts warn of snake bites with temperatures warming

Oklahoma rattlesnake
Posted at 2:29 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-01 16:52:38-04

TULSA — Experts in Oklahoma are warning of snake bites this season after recent rains and increases in temperatures.

Officials with the Oklahoma Center for Poison & Drug Information said in 2018, parts of Oklahoma experienced about a 10 percent increase in calls about snake bites.

Oklahoma has three types of venomous snakes: the copperhead, cottonmouth (also known as water moccasin) and several species of rattlesnakes. Venomous snakes in Oklahoma have slit pupils, a triangular-shaped head and heat-sensing pit on each side of the head between the eye and nostril.

“If bitten by a snake, do not attempt to treat the wound yourself, as many home and field treatments can cause additional harm,” said Jami Johnson, Pharm D, DABAT, assistant director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information. Officials say to instead, wash the area immediately with soap and water and call the center right away.

The center offered the following tips for avoiding snake bites:

  1. Keep your landscape or campsite well-manicured.
  2. Wear boots and long pants in areas known to have snakes, and avoid walking alone in these areas.
  3. Watch where you step and place your hands when outdoors. Do not put your hands or feet into places you cannot see. Carry a flashlight, and wear shoes when walking outside after dark.
  4. Stay on open ground; walk on clear paths and avoid sleeping on the ground. Place your sleeping bag away from caves and rock piles.

Oklahoma has about 300 snake bite patients per year.

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