There’s a painful but growing trend in some states this year – victims of snake bites.
Michael Jeffords learned about the uptick the hard way. While he was at his friend’s lake house recently, he was bitten in the foot by a copperhead and subsequently spent the next three days in the hospital. His foot measured about a foot in circumference after the swelling.
“I guess I got too close to the snake and he hit me,” Jeffords told Channel 2 Action News. “My buddy rushed me to the ER, they rushed me to the back, and they did what they had to do.”
— Craig Lucie (@CraigLucie) May 10, 2017
Jeffords is far from being only victim of a snake bite this year.
Officials at the Georgia Poison Control Center in Atlanta told Channel 2 they have gotten about 40 percent more snakebite calls this year than in 2016.
South Carolina is also reporting a 30 percent increase this year, while North Carolina has also seen a notable spike in bites – receiving 71 calls in April 2017 compared to only 19 calls the year before according to AOL.com.
The reason: a short, mild winter and heavy rains in the south.
There are approximately 38 species of snakes found in the southeastern United States and only five of these species are considered venomous. These species include the cottonmouth, copperhead, coral snake, pigmy rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, and Eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
According to a study released late 2016 – when it comes to snakebites in people 18 and under – Florida and Texas have the highest rates of snakebites – with Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia, not far behind.
Tips for preventing snake bites: Most snake bites occur in wooded areas, tall grass, or areas that have lots of brush and poor ground visibility. Therefore, whenever you are walking in high grasslands or the woods, it’s important to try and stay in areas where you can see the ground clearly and use caution when stepping on areas with poor ground visibility. Also, be sure to wear high boots and long pants when out in the woods, tall grass, streams, and swamps.
Do not attempt to touch or move any type of snake, especially if you cannot identify it. All venomous snakes (except for the coral snake) have slit eyes (similar to cat eyes). They also have a triangle-shaped head and a depression between their eyes and nostrils.
If bitten by a snake, seek immediate medical attention. If you are unsure if a venomous snake bit you or someone else there are a few signs to look for to determine if it was in fact a venomous snake bite:
- Two parallel puncture wounds
- Redness, heat, pain, and swelling at the bite site
- Nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, disturbed vision, the sweats, or tingling / numbness throughout the body
If bitten by a snake, don’t try to suck the venom out or apply ice. Take off jewelry in case of swelling, call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room and get yourself evaluated and treated.