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As the Weather Warms Up Rattlesnakes Come Out to Enjoy the Sun Just as Californians Do
Date:5/5/2009

The California Poison Control System Warns that Snake Bites are Becoming More Powerful and Patient Reactions Have Increased

SAN FRANCISCO, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The change in weather marks a change in rattlesnake behavior as well. Snakes live all over California and while most are not poisonous, the rattlesnake is. In humans, a rattlesnake bite can produce swelling and bruising and can sometimes be fatal.

"Over the past couple of years we have seen an increase in powerful snake bites and that patient reactions to the bites have become more severe," said Richard F. Clark, MD, Medical Director for the CPCS and Director of the Division of Medical Toxicology at the University of California, San Diego. "It is important for Californians to take extra precautions as they start to head outside, particularly with children and pets as their natural curiosity could create a deadly encounter with a snake."

To protect against rattlesnake bites, the CPCS provides the following tips:

  • Keep children and pets close by when outdoors.
  • Stay on trails when hiking, and look carefully where you step.
  • Do not pick up or disturb a snake, even if it appears dead.
  • Do not reach into holes, bushes or anywhere that is hidden.

If bitten, symptoms of a severe bite include:

  • Extreme pain at the location of the bite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling in the mouth and throat making it difficult to breathe
  • Lightheadedness
  • Collapse and shock

If bitten by a rattlesnake immediate medical treatment is critical, the CPCS provides the following tips:

  • Call 911 immediately. Administering an antivenom is the best treatment.

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SOURCE California Poison Control System
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