Flooding increases risk of dangerous snake bites

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SHAWNEE, Okla.–  As Oklahomans are heading for higher ground, so are snakes!

Oklahoma is home to seven venomous snakes and officials are seeing an increase in bites.

It’s no surprise Oklahoma is home to all kinds of critters, but with the heavy flooding that’s hitting the state, Doctor A.C. Husen with St. Anthonys Shawnee says those critters are coming out of the woodwork.

“The snakes are being forced out of their natural habitat,” Doctor Husen said.

And they’re slithering right up to our doorsteps.

“Areas that are more populated, backyards, fields behind homes,” will see a rise in snake sightings, Doctor Husen said.

He says they’ve seen an increase in snake bites over the past few weeks.

In Shawnee, two people have been bitten by Copperheads in just the past week.

“Nausea, vomiting and we’ve seen low blood pressure in the more severe cases,” Doctor Husen said.

Both people survived,  thanks to anti-venom, but there’s more than just your health to worry about.

Snakes sink their teeth into your wallet when they bite, too.

“It’s an expensive treatment,” Doctor Husen said.

Treatment can total over $100,000.

But, there is a way to prevent that all together.

“Just be careful when you’re cleaning up debris. Be real careful to try to look under objects or move an object or pick it up with your hand, because that’s they are going to hide and where were going to see the most problems,” Doctor Husen said.

There are some things to remember if you’re bitten:

First don’t try to catch the snake, try to snap a picture on your phone- but if you can’t do that, doctor’s are usually able to identify the snake by its bite, just get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Also, keep the bite elevated and we’ve all heard about sucking out the venom; Doctor’s say that doesn’t work and it could lead to further infection.

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