In Waycross, six people have been treated for snake bites in 2015.
The number is up significantly from 2014 when there were only two recorded all year.
“We keep enough anti-venom on hand to treat six or seven people at one time,” said Ken Tyre, a pharmacist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross. “So while this number is up from last year, we always have plenty in stock.”
Tyre said in the event of someone being bitten by a venomous snake, call 911 immediately, especially if the area changes color, begins to swell or is painful.
Most North American snakes aren’t dangerous to humans. Some exceptions include the rattlesnake, coral snake, water moccasin and copperhead. Their bites can be life-threatening.
If possible, take these steps while waiting for medical help:
•Remain calm and move beyond the snake’s striking distance.
•Remove jewelry and tight clothing before you start to swell.
•Position yourself, if possible, so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart.
•Clean the wound, but don’t flush it with water. Cover it with a clean, dry dressing.
There are some things you should not do:
•Don’t use a tourniquet or apply ice.
•Don’t cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom.
•Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol, which could speed the rate at which your body absorbs venom.
•Don’t try to capture the snake. Try to remember its color and shape so that you can describe it, which will help in your treatment.
Of the venomous snakes found in North America, all but the coral snake have slit-like eyes and are known as pit vipers. Their heads are triangular, with a depression (pit) midway between the eye and nostril on either side of the head.
Other characteristics are unique to certain venomous snakes:
•Rattlesnakes rattle by shaking the rings at the end of their tails.
•Water moccasins’ mouths have a white, cottony lining.
•Coral snakes have red, yellow and black rings along the length of their bodies.