North Carolina Poison Control reports spike in venomous snake bites

North Carolina Poison Control is seeing a spike in venomous snake bites.

With summer around the corner and more people heading outside NC Poison Control wants everyone to be aware of their surroundings especially when it comes to snakes.

Most of us think we may see a snake out on a hike but poison control says three quarters of the snake bites that happen in North Carolina occur around a person's property.

Typically - while someone might be taking the trash out or mowing the lawn. The most common poisonous snake in North Carolina is the copperhead. During peak snake-bite season poison control get two to three calls a day about snake bites.

Dr. Michael Beuhler serves as the Medical Director for NC Poison Control and said there may be several reasons for the spike.

"It may be because more people are being bitten, maybe there are more snakes, and more people are outside earlier and we could be getting more calls from the public," said Dr. Beuhler.

You can avoid being bitten but you have to be aware of your surroundings. Dr. Beuhler stresses not to reach or step where you cannot see.

If you are out at night be sure to take a flashlight with you.

If a snake bites you or someone you know Dr. Beuhler said there are a few steps you need to take right away.

  • Sit down and stay calm.
  • Gently wash the area with warm, soapy water.
  • Remove jewelry or tight clothing anywhere near the snake bite.
  • Keep the bitten area still, if possible, and raise it to heart level.
  • Call the Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222

The Center can help guide you through what you should do. If you experience life threatening symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing, face swelling or someone has lost consciousness call 911 immediately.

You should not try to remove the venom or ice the area as that can cause additional tissue damage. Do not apply a tourniquet or any tight bandage. Avoid the snake and do not try to catch or kill it.

A dead snake or a detached snake's head can still bite because of its bite reflex.