As summer approaches, officials warn of the various critters that come out with a bite

RAPID CITY, SD (KEVN) – With the school year winding down and summer fast approaching, visitors and locals alike are ready to spend time in the Black Hills, but they should be careful.

“Summer brings a kind of injury season for us,” said Dr. Brook Eide, medical director of Monument Health’s emergency department. “It can range from bee and wasp stings to motorcycle accidents, falls, hiking injuries. Snake bites are a common thing we see here in the summer.

There are several species of snakes in the Black Hills, but only one is poisonous.

“Rattlesnake season has officially begun,” said Terry Phillip, curator of reptiles at Reptile Gardens.

“The big problem with rattlesnakes is that sometimes it’s hard to tell how bad the bite was and about 25% are dry bites. They’re not actually venomous, but it’s hard to tell. tell in advance. So if you are bitten by a snake we say it is very important to get in and not wait to see if you have any symptoms. Symptoms are going to be gradual swelling starting at where you were bitten and it can lead to bleeding and whole system failure,” Eide said.

If you’ve been bitten and have symptoms, don’t try to fix the problem yourself.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of first aid that’s still being talked about, unfortunately,” Phillip explained, “the cut and suck method, or put on a tunicate, or, unfortunately, hook up to a car battery and get rid of it. electrocute.”

In fact, the only cure for a rattlesnake bite is antivenom.

“To get the antivenom, you have to go to the emergency room,” Eide explained.

However, visitors should not be too afraid because the snakes are more afraid of us than we are of them.

“But really, just with a bit of common sense, good shoes, and being careful where you’re going, snake season is really easy going here in South Dakota,” Phillip said.

Other bites or stings that may be encountered in the Black Hills are from ticks and bees.

Eide said that when removing a tick, be sure to remove the entire bug to avoid infection.

Bee stings, although generally harmless, can be a major problem for others.

“Some people can develop allergies and have anaphylaxis where their organs make it difficult for them to breathe, their heart can have strains. So this can be a very serious thing and requires immediate and emergency intervention,” said Eid.

No matter what creature you encounter, it’s important to stay calm.

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