Health Watch - Biting: Snake Bites

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about a variety of bites that can happen in the summer, from bug bites to dog bites. A snake bite may be less likely to happen, but it can be dangerous if it does.

About 7,000 people are treated for snake bites in the United States every year – most of them between April and October. Snakes will usually try to avoid people, but will strike if they feel threatened. You can avoid snake encounters by watching where you step or sit and by using a long stick to scare away snakes in tall grass or weeds. Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, a toxicologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says you should seek medical help immediately if you’ve been bitten by a snake. Before you get to the hospital, you should try to stay calm. Don’t make cuts over the bite or try to suck out venom. Try to remember what the snake looked like, but don’t try to catch it. Loosen any tight clothing and remove jewelry from around the affected area.

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July 2011

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