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Snake bites on the rise across the state

KBAK/KBFX photo

The California Poison Control System reports snake bites are on the rise.

"We had one bite at least every day somewhere in the state of California, and that was a signal for us that this is going to be a very busy snake bite season," said Dr. Rain Vohra, medical director at the California Poison Control System in the Fresno/Madera Division.

They are still investigating the reason for the increase but say development on snake habitats could play a big part. Increased rainfall last year could also be a factor.

"If there is more plant material available for the rodents, that actually supports a healthier or a larger snake population," said Vohra.

With more snakes out there, California Poison Control wants to warm people to be careful when going outside. Officials say most bites take place in people's backyards and while hiking.

"Wear appropriate clothing, hike with a friend, stick to well-used trails, avoid reaching into dark holes, tall grass, and just be aware that these creatures are out there," said Vohra.

He also said there are a lot of misconceptions about snake bites and what to do when bitten. Don't apply a tourniquet, because it will cut off the blood flow and make things worse. Also, do not suck on the wound, as this will introduce bacteria to the bite and could lead to infections.

He said the best defense against a bite is anti-venom, which is only carried at an emergency department.

Vohra urged everyone to plug California Poison Control into their phone in case of emergency. The number is 1 (800) 222-1222.

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