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Officials: Snake bites are on the rise across Oklahoma

SHAWNEE, Okla. - Donna Stacy walked out of her Shawnee home on Wednesday, and what she found in her car gave her a fright.

"I screamed, which naturally I would," she told News 4. "I would've wrecked the car if I'd got in and that sucker, I'm scared to death of snakes, if that sucker would've come at me."

Stacy panicked when she saw the snake on her car.

"By the time I got out here and tried to take the nippers and get ahold of the snake, it twirled around and went back up underneath the car and disappeared," Stacy said.

While she was frightened by the sight, she says this isn't her first encounter with a snake.

“I caught one in my bedroom several weeks ago when we had that first big storm,” said Stacy. “That could kill somebody if somebody doesn’t check it out and do something about it.”

Officials are warning Oklahomans that the slithering creatures have been on the move.

“As water had increased in areas, it’s been driving the snakes out of their usual habitat,” said Medical Director Dr. William Banner, with the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Informative.

As a result, snake bite reports are on the rise.

“We have seen about a 25 percent increase over the last year in terms of the number of bites,” said Dr. Banner.

Dr. Banner says around 15 of those have occurred in the past couple of weeks.

“We have one basic type and they’re called pit-vipers and that’s the copperheads, the water moccasins, and the rattlesnakes, that includes the pygmy rattlesnakes. They all can pose a threat to your limb or your life,” he said.

Officials say if you are bitten by a snake, stay calm.

According to Dr. Carlos Cabrera, assistant medical director at SSM Health St. Anthony in Shawnee, 30% of snake bites don't inject any type of venom.

"What you want to do is stay calm, immobilize the extremity, keep it at a neutral position,” said Dr. Cabrera.

Dr. Cabrera says if swelling continues and there is a progression of pain, you need to go to the emergency room.

“If you see that there is progression of pain and swelling up in the extremity, then you need to come to the emergency room,” he said.

For more information about snake bites, or how to treat them you can call 800-222-1222, or visit the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Informative website.

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