EL PASO, Texas -- Few things are more rattling than hearing the rattle of a snake while you're on a hike. During monsoon season, that becomes a more common occurrence here in the Borderland.
"Rattlesnakes like to be in the sun just like we do," said Dr. Sarah Watkins with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso and the West Texas Regional Poison Center. "Unfortunately, that means that they might be active around the same times that we want to be active." Snakes are are more active during monsoon season.
During the height of the pandemic, the poison center said it saw a large increase in snake bites across the Borderland as more El Pasoans turned to spending more time outdoors.
Some symptoms of snake bites can include blurred vision, convulsions, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, fainting. Blood clots could also form.
While many snakes and snake bites can be non-life threatening, it's still important to treat it seriously.
"If you do get bitten by a rattlesnake, then your best tools on hand are going to be a cell phone and car keys, we want you to call 911," Watkins said. "If you're able to hike yourself down to your car, at least the ambulance can pick you up there and bring you to the hospital where you can be seen by a doctor."
Here are some ways to treat a snakebite, according to the West Texas Regional Poison Center.
- If bitten, try to note time of the bite, remove jewelry or other items that might constrict swelling, remain calm.
- Do not try to capture the snake.
- Do not cut the wound and try to extract the venom by mouth.
- Do not use ice or a tourniquet.
- Do not take pain relievers or other medications without medical advice. Do not drink alcohol.
- Call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for instructions on all snake bites.