I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes....
Spring is here and our outdoor activities are on the increase. With higher temperatures, we also expect increased activity of insects, spiders, and snakes. Many times, our interaction with these potential harmful ‘critters’ are benign, however there are times that our encounters result in bites or stings that require a doctor’s office or emergency room visit.
Let’s take a moment to review how we can protect ourselves.
Protection from Spiders
- Wear long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin.
- Treat bites and stings with over-the-counter products that relieve pain and prevent infection.
- Severe reactions to spider bites (chest pain, nausea, sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling or slurred speech) require immediate medical treatment.
Prevention of potential snakes bites
- Watch where you put your hands and feet when removing debris. If possible, don’t place your fingers under debris you are moving. Wear heavy gloves.
- If you see a snake, step back and allow it to proceed.
- Wear boots at least 10 inches high.
- Watch for snakes sunning on fallen trees, limbs or other de-bris.
- A snake’s striking distance is about 1/2 the total length of the snake.
- If bitten, note the color and shape of the snake’s head to help with treatment.
- Keep bite victims still and calm to slow the spread of venom in case the snake is poisonous. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Do not cut the wound or attempt to suck out the venom. Lay the person down so that the bite is below the level of the heart, and cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.
If you are bitten by any snake:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible (dial 911)
- Try to remember the shape/color of the snake
- Keep calm and still to slow the spread of venom
- Inform your supervisor.
- Apply first aid if you cannot get to the hospital right away
- Lay/sit with the bite below the level of the heart
- Wash the bite with soap and water
- Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing
DO NOT Do Any of the Following
- Pick up the snake or try to trap it
- Do not apply a tourniquet
- Do not slash the wound with a knife
- Do not suck out the venom
- Do not apply ice or immerse in water
- Do not drink alcohol
- Do not drink caffeinated beverages
It’s best to remember (and to remind each other) that any snake-bite should be immediately looked at, and treated by a medical professional. The best prevention is to avoid all contact and give plenty of room when snakes are encountered.