Be Snake Safe!
By Theresa Badurek, Urban Horticulture Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension
|Coral Snake: venomous (photo http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw229)|
|Southern Black Racer: non-venomous (photo http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw258)|
Preventing Snake Bites
• Do not try to handle any snake.
• Stay away from tall grass and piles of leaves when possible.
• Avoid climbing on rocks or piles of wood where a snake may be hiding.
• Be aware that snakes tend to be active at night and in warm weather.
• Wear boots and long pants when working outdoors.
• Wear leather gloves when handling brush and debris.
And finally, if you have the unfortunate experience of being bitten by a snake, you will want to learn a little bit about first aid in that situation. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control on snake bite first aid (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/snakes/#recomm):
• Seek medical attention as soon as possible (dial 911 or call local Emergency Medical Services.)
• Try to remember the color and shape of the snake, which can help with treatment of the snake bite.
• Keep still and calm. This can slow down the spread of venom.
• Inform your supervisor.
• Apply first aid if you cannot get to the hospital right away.
o Lay or sit down with the bite below the level of the heart.
o Wash the bite with soap and water.
o Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.
Do NOT do any of the following:
• Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it.
• Do not wait for symptoms to appear if bitten, seek immediate medical attention.
• 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 the wound in water.
• Do not drink alcohol as a painkiller.
• Do not drink caffeinated beverages.
Be safe out there!