Snakes in Texas: What to do if you get bitten by a snake

Going to the hospital is the best way to treat a snake bite, experts say

Western diamondback rattlesnake
Western diamondback rattlesnake (Pixabay)

TEXAS – As people are venturing outdoors for the summertime, the chances of coming across a snake are more likely, especially in Texas.

According to Agrilife Today, an increased amount of rain this season and rapid urbanization could increase your chances of interacting with snakes.

While the chance of interacting with snakes might increase, the likelihood of being bitten is still quite low.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said only about 7,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes annually in the United States.

In Texas, only one to two people die each year from a venomous snakebite, according to Health Services. In fact, only four snake species found in Texas are considered venomous, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Coral, copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins) and rattlesnakes are all venomous snakes that Parks and Wildlife officials said you should stay away from.

If you are bitten by a snake, Parks and Wildlife officials said to avoid first-aid procedures such as applying a tourniquet, or using the incision and suction method before going to a hospital, as they could cause more harm.

If a patient is less than an hour away from a hospital, experts say to follow these steps:

  • Reassure the victim; keep them warm, quiet and comfortable.
  • Remove rings and other constricting items.
  • Loosely immobilize the injured part in a functional position and attempt to keep this part of the body just below heart level.
  • Transport the victim to a medical facility quickly.

If a patient is more than an hour away, experts say to follow the same steps but first-aid methods such as a Sawyer Extractor or wrapping an elastic bandage around the limb and immobilizing it with a splint might be necessary.

Parks and Wildlife officials said the best way to avoid a venomous snake bite is to avoid all types of snakes and stay away from rock or wood piles where snakes are likely to hide.

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About the Author:

Emily Martin is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. She earned a journalism degree from Texas State University, where she was news director at KTSW, the campus radio station. She has also interned at KXAN and KUT in Austin.