Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bites and Stings and Itching- Oh My!

Summer time is in full force which means the bugs and snakes are out and about! While no one ever wants to have encounters with dangerous bugs or snakes, sometimes it cannot be helped. The important ones to keep an eye out for are the ones that can be harmful and are considered venomous. The Texas Poison Center Network wants you to be aware of dangers you and your loved ones could come across this time of year.

Snakes to Look Out for in Texas


A cottonmouth snake can reach lengths of up to five feet long. Commonly called a water moccasin, these snakes enjoy being near bodies of water and are usually are dark black color with wide bands on its body. This type of snake can be aggressive so keep your eyes open when playing by lakes, ponds and rivers.


Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
The Western Diamondback rattlesnake is one of the most common snakes you will find in Texas. It can reach lengths of up to seven feet and has a triangular shaped head. They will often times spend their days hiding in low-growing shrubs or rocks. The most identifiable part of this snake is their rattle but it is also covered in a diamond-shaped pattern, hence its name. They are not usually aggressive unless their habitat is disturbed or threatened, so watch where you are walking when out on hikes!


These snakes reach about 30 inches long and have a reddish-brown head with coppery bodies. These snakes are usually not aggressive and most people only get bitten by accidently stepping on them. The reason it might be easy to step on one is because they blend in so well with oak leaves and other vegetation. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and where you are walking when in wooded or park areas.

Coral Snake

Coral Snake
This snake is the most colorful of the bunch, only reaching about 2 feet in length. They are not too hard to miss with their bright red, black and yellow rings on the body. Coral snakes can be extremely dangerous due to their venom, especially in children. Their mouths are quite small so they have an easier time of biting young children than they do an adult. It is best to avoid these snakes and remember the saying: Red touching yellow, kills a fellow, while red touching black, venom they lack!
Creepy Crawlers to Look Out for in Texas

Bugs love the heat, especially the ones that bite! From mosquitoes and bees to flies and fleas, here is a list of the ones you should really keep your eye out for!

Bees and Wasps

You might see some wasps, yellow jackets, bees or hornets buzzing around your home. If so, they most likely have built a nest somewhere on the outside of your home or in hollow places that do not get disturbed. When it is light out, look around your home to see if you can find the nest.  If so, you should call a professional to take care of it.  Never try to remove the nest yourself.  Keep in mind that if the nest is not dealt with properly, there can be dangerous consequences up to and including death from multiple stings.  Anyone with a possible allergy to these bugs can find themselves in a life-threatening situation from even a single sting. 


Black Widow
The good news is most spiders are not dangerous to humans.   In Texas, the two spiders to keep an eye out for are the brown recluse and the black widow. Both of these spiders like to  
Brown Recluse
hang out in dark areas where there isn’t much draft. The only time they might bite is if they feel threatened. Unfortunately, with most spider bites, you won’t even feel them. That is why it is important that anytime you find a suspecting bite on your body or your child’s, that you call the poison center for treatment recommendations.

Mosquitoes are peskier than anything, but they can also carry some icky diseases including West Nile Virus and malaria. The best way to avoid mosquitoes around your home is to get rid of any standing water, including bird baths. Standing water is the perfect breeding spot for mosquitoes. The best time to stay indoors to reduce your chances of being bitten is at twilight/during the evening when they are most active.  If you must go out at this time, make sure you use mosquito repellent on all exposed areas.

Ticks can be found in dense brush and wooded areas. If you plan on taking a hike or going around heavily wooded areas, make sure to cover your skin with clothing and use tick repellent where skin is visible to eliminate chances of being bit. If you do find a tick embedded in your skin, the best thing you can do is remove it with tweezers.  Call the poison center for information on how to remove the tick or treat the open wound it may leave behind.

Remember, if you run across any of these snakes or bugs and happen to get bitten or stung, please do not hesitate to contact a poison center for help at 1-800-222-1222. They are always there and always free and can provide help on how to treat the bite and more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

K2: A Dangerous Drug with Scary Consequences

It’s been all over the news lately. Case after case of kids ending up in the emergency room due to use of K2 or a similar synthetic compound. In Austin, Texas alone, officials have treated roughly 390 patients and responded to 355 calls regarding K2 only within a month’s time frame (May 29 to June 29, 2015).

K2, also referred to as “Spice” is a mix of dried plans and herbs that have been sprayed with a compound similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. Cases of people using K2 have increased exponentially in the past several months which is why we want to warn you of the dangers of using this dangerous drug.

Below are some common symptoms that come from using K2:

·         Heart rate and blood pressure both get to low levels

·         Higher body temperatures

·         In some cases seizures

·         Violent and aggressive behavior

·         Anxiety and paranoia

·         Hallucinations

·         Drowsiness

·         Vomiting

When it comes to K2 and other synthetic compounds, you should protect yourself and stay away from these very harmful drugs. If you or someone you know has used K2, please do not hesitate to contact a Texas Poison Center today for help. It could potentially save you emergency room visit fees and your health. Do you have questions concerning these drugs? Call us about that too- 1-800-222-1222. Poison Control is here to help!