Local healthcare system raises awareness of venomous snakes
in Jack County and ways to respond if a snakebite occurs.

As families spend more time outdoors this time of year, it is important to be aware of the dangers of snakebites. Knowing what to look out for and how to respond in the unfortunate instance of a rattlesnake bite can make the difference between life and death.

In Texas, more than 150 species and subspecies of snakes are known to call the state home. Of those, only 15 are potentially dangerous to humans because of their venom. In Jack County, rattlesnakes are the most common venomous threat.

Faith Community Health System (FCHS) is raising awareness of snakebite preparedness this summer by once again partnering with Peyton’s Project, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to educate the public about the reality – and dangers – of rattlesnakes.

We often find that snakebites happen so fast, victims do not know what hit them until it is too late. Being able to respond quickly and appropriately following a snakebite is critical, especially for people in rural communities like Jack County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 7,000 people report snakebites each year, of whom approximately five percent die. Fortunately, seeking immediate medical attention can prevent death or serious complications.

Symptoms following snakebite can vary. The first step following snakebite is to look for a pair of puncture marks at the center of the wound. Redness, swelling, and severe pain around the bite will immediately develop. The victim may quickly experience nausea, increased sweating, labored breathing, and possibly even numbness or tingling around the face or limbs.

Snakebites happen fast but trying to see and remember the color, shape, and pattern of the snake can be crucial to the appropriate treatment method.

According to the CDC, a tourniquet should never be applied to a snakebite wound. Snake venom can often cause massive swelling of the affected area and destroy red blood cells.

If you block the blood flow, you are essentially trapping dead blood cells in the affected area or limb, which can cause more harm to the victim than the bite itself. Any constricting shoes, clothing, or jewelry should be removed following snakebite.

You should also not slash the wound with a knife, suck out the venom, apply ice, immerse the wound in water, or drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages. The best course of action is to remain calm to slow the spread of venom and lay or sit with the bite below the level of the heart while you wait for emergency medical help.

The partnership between FCHS and Peyton’s Project is not only educational but essential to help Faith Community Hospital always maintain vials of antivenin.

We are proud – and fortunate – to continue our partnership with Peyton’s Project that greatly benefits our community.”

In the event of a snakebite, you are urged to call 911 or get to a hospital as quickly as possible. Although deaths from snakebites in the region are rare, the side effects can be unpleasant.