What’s Going Around: snake bites

Local physicians say it's the time of year to be watchful for snakes when recreating outside, and to seek immediate care if you suffer a venomous bite.
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 7:52 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - In this week’s What’s Going Around, physicians in Bolivar, Lebanon, and Springfield are reporting large numbers of sinus infections and inflammation due to seasonal allergies. At Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, they’re also seeing strep throat and respiratory infections. At Lake Regional Health Systems, they’re also seeing strep throat and outdoor-related injuries.

Dr. Jamie Jones, a physician with CoxHealth, said people need to remember their bike helmets and protective gear when recreating outside. He said they’re also seeing patients for contact with poison oak. He said patients need to wash the oil off their skin immediately if they come into contact. He also said it’s the time of year when people need to be careful of snakes.

“The last thing I would say is, we’re still a little bit early, but we’re starting to see some snake activity,” said Dr. Jones. “Just be careful when you’re walking in the woods, don’t jump over logs, step on the log first and then step over. Snakes aren’t looking for you but when you step on them, they tend to say that they’re not happy with that and they’ll end up with a bite.”

He said it’s usually cases of people bothering the snakes that end up in a bite, not the other way around.

“Mostly, it’s non-venomous snakes, but we do have copperheads, and we do have a few rattlesnakes, although you don’t see those very often,” said Dr. Jones. “It’s the copperheads that can cause a problem, and I will tell you, being in the ER and the urgent care, most of the snake bites are not because people stepped on them but because somebody was trying to handle the snake. That’s when most of these bites happen.”

He said it’s helps for the doctor to know what type of snake bit the patient.

“Nowadays, it’s great if you can take a picture of the snake from a distance,” said Dr. Jones. “Don’t bag the snake and bring it in. We’ve actually had that happen before. Don’t bring it to me. Cleaning with soap and water, and if you’re concerned, it’s a venomous snake, then gets in to see us, and we’ll take a look at it.”

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