In the last two months, the staff at Cook Children’s Hospital has treated 11 children for snake bites – four in the last week alone.
It’s not a new trend. Every summer, the hospital starts to see more and more children who have been bitten by snakes. They even have a name for it: “snake bite season.”
“Snakes get more active when it's warmer, so they're out and about, and then we have kids that are out of school,” Christi Thornhill, the director of trauma services at the hospital, said.
North Texas is home to four types of venomous snakes: copperheads, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and coral snakes. Seth Roberson is a snake wrangler with the Wildlife X team and he gets calls about one of those snakes daily.
Roberson says that the serpents like to hide in moist areas where there are mice and insects for them to eat.
“Avoid conducive conditions -- wood piles, brush, debris, keep the yard mowed really tight,” Roberson said. “The insects get in the small crevices of toys and noodles and stuff, so they go after them that way as well.”
Experts say that children are the most likely to be bit and if they are, they’ll need medical attention very quickly. That’s because snake bites can get serious quickly, although deaths are rare.
“Shortness of breath... neurological changes like fainting or passing out, that can happen very quickly,” Thornhill said. “With children, their metabolism tends to be higher so we may see symptoms that are more severe.”
Thornhill also says to give the hospital a heads up if you’re on your way with a snakebite victim, because it takes the hospital around 30 minutes to get the antivenom ready for treatment.