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Hospital reports increase in snake bites | Environment

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Hospital reports increase in snake bites
Environment, Health, News
Hospital reports increase in snake bites

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(KTHV)- Doctors and nurses at Arkansas Children's Hospital are reporting a 50 percent increase in snake bites this summer.

Children's Hospital typically sees 20 to 25 snake bites a year, but already this year they've treated 30 cases. Donna Parnell-Beasley is the trauma coordinator at Arkansas Children's Hospital, and she says they're not really sure about the uptick, but wants parents to be aware.

"Children may have been outside playing more than when it's really, really hot."

Parnell-Beasley says 2014 is shaping up to be the summer of snakes

"The majority of the injuries we've seen this summer have been on feet where children step down next to a snake and a snake bites them."

Experts say due to the mild and wet summer, more families spent time outdoors. Parnell-Beasley warns that there are 5 to 6 types of venomous snakes in Arkansas, and knowing the difference can be helpful to parents if their child is bitten.

"If it is a venomous snake and there is concern there's usually an immediate pain to the site and swelling that happens fairly quickly."

She also advises keeping the level of where the bite is located below the heart. Anywhere above that will allow the poison to spread more quickly.

"Keep the child calm, get the child away from the snake. Don't do any field treatments. No cutting and trying to suction the venom out. No ice."

Make sure to pay attention to where your children are playing.

"Stay away from vacant lots. Tall grass or brush, trees that are down and rocks that are piled up."

The best thing to do if anyone is bitten by a snake is to call 911 or poison control.

Parnell-Beasley says copperhead bites have been the main problem they've seen this summer.

STORY: Increased reports of snake bites in Arkansas

Environment, Health, News