Stay Protected After Snake Bites


Friday, June 5th 2009, 5:54 pm
By: News 9


By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

PAULS VALLEY, Oklahoma -- The warmer weather also brings out an unwelcomed sight in Oklahoma; snakes. And there's misinformation out there, on how to treat your bite.

The Poison Control Center is concerned this year. Poison Control officials say the earliest snake bite ever recorded happened this year in January. And although the number of people who have already been bitten is just above what it was last year at this time, there's a special urgency to their message.

Snakes in Oklahoma can swallow prey much larger than their own head. When it comes to biting humans, they only do so if they feel the need to protect themselves.

"If someone is cleaning their flower bed, or they're moving trash limbs then they're going to disturb where snakes normally live and then they'll get bitten," Lee McGoodwin with the Oklahoma Poison Control Center said.

That's exactly what happened to Gary McCord, while he was repairing a water line on his land south of Pauls Valley.

"I reached down right here to grab something and that snake was right there, and I never saw him," McCord said. "I didn't even think to look for the snake because for the last 2 hours or so, I had been over here on my hands and knees digging in the dirt."

McCord was bitten by a Copperhead on his finger, which was quickly swelling.

"I thought about, 'well, I'll just make an incision or put on a tourniquet or something like that,' and all of a sudden I thought, 'what if it's poisonous and I go monkeying around and get myself killed?'" he said.

He called 911, and was eventually given anti-venom at the hospital.
Oklahoma Poison Controls says he made the right move.

According to wildlife experts, you should not cut or suck a snake bite.

Misinformation about immediate treatment is rampant. In the case of a snake bite, keep the victim quiet, remove any rings or watches and take them to the Emergency Room.

So far, 35 people have been bitten this year in Oklahoma.

Poison Control says there is no need to worry about major injury or death, if you follow the recommended moves.

If you have questions about snake bites, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.