Snake presentationOn Saturday, April 28, Dr. Gustavo Gross gave a presentation on snakebites at the Connally Memorial Medical Center annual health fair. There was critical information that he shared, not only to safe lives but to save limbs. Some of the most important information that Dr. Gross presented is summarized below:

The most common venomous snakes in this area are the rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin (cotton mouth) and the coral snake.

It is very important, that if you are bitten by any type of venomous snake, or believe that you have been bitten by a venomous snake, that you go to the nearest hospital or call 911 and remain calm. Most hospitals in the United States, including Connally Memorial Medical Center, carry the antivenin, Crofab, which is used to treat most venomous snakebites.

Venomous snakesDO NOT apply ice to the bite, DO NOT cut the bite, DO NOT “suck” the venom from the bite and DO NOT apply a tourniquet near the bite site.

The venom injected by the rattlesnake, copperhead and water moccasin contains toxins that cause damage to the tissue surrounding the bite.  The toxin can also cause damage to the platelets in your blood, causing excessive bleeding. These bite victims that present to the hospital are generally observed to see if there are signs of invenomation. If signs of invenomation exist, then the antivenin, Crofab, is administered to the patient.

 The venom injected by a coral snake, which is injected through even the slightest scratch of a fang, is much more dangerous, as it contains a neurotoxin that affects your nervous system. The affects of this neurotoxin can cause you to stop breathing.  Seek medical attention immediately.

 In short, it is best to avoid any venomous snake, if possible. In the case that you do happen to come across a venomous snake and you are bitten, go to the nearest hospital or call 911.