Big Spring hospital carrying anti-venom in case of emergency rattlesnake bites

Big Spring hospital carrying anti-venom in case of emergency rattlesnake bites

BIG SPRING, TX (KWES) - With summer time coming around and with recent rains, rattlesnakes can appear anywhere here in West Texas. They like hiding in areas where there's tall grass and rocks.

"Unfortunately, people don't look where they're reaching, they don't look where they're stepping," said Dr. Alan Abel with Scenic Mountain Medical Center in Big Spring.

The hospital carries anti-venom in case there is a snake bite emergency. Abel said rattlesnakes are more prevalent this time of the year than they have been in the past.

"Here in Big Spring, we have several snake bites that come into the medical room and we want people to know Scenic Mountain Medical Center is committed to helping people in the community," said Abel.

Crofab is the name of the anti-venom used to combat snake bites. It is made from venom collected from rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins. Abel said even though the fatalities of rattlesnake bites are very low, it can still cause injury.

"People do lose fingers and toes," said Abel. "It can cause necrosis of the muscles."

Some snakes have what is called a dry bite, which is when a snake does not carry venom. Typically fang marks and extensive pain will appear when a rattlesnake bites. When a person has been bit, they must immediately call an emergency room since venom spreads quickly.

"It stays primarily in the tissue," said Abel. "It doesn't go intravenously. So it goes into the muscle and the fat and so forth which is taken up by the lymphatics and spreads throughout the rest of the body."

Once they receive medical attention, patients are marked on their body where the redness is. When the anti-venom is injected, the progression of the swelling is then tracked on the body. One patient at the medical center said he was bitten by a rattlesnake three years ago but there's still bruising on his leg.

"The bite didn't really hurt," the patient said. "It's just when the venom started spreading. Morphine didn't help. I can tell you that much."

One of the main tips to prevent yourself from getting bit is to be aware of your surroundings when you're outside. If you do get bit, call 911, wrap a tourniquet and put an ice pack on the exposed area until you receive medical attention.

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