South Carolina hospitals see spike in snake bites after Florence

Hospitals and veterinary offices in southeast South Carolina are treating an increased number of patients with snake bites, according to WJBF.

Some parts of the state faced heavy rainfall and flooding during Hurricane Florence, which forces snakes to higher ground. September also marks birthing season for copperhead snakes — one of six poisonous species found in the state.

"With the warmer weather, and even the rain just helps to concentrate [snakes] into areas of higher ground, which can tend to be around dwellings," Dr. Henri Bianucci, a veterinarian in Mount Pleasant, S.C., told WJBF.   

Physicians warned people to stay away from any snakes they encounter, adding that most people get bitten by trying to kill a snake.

"Just don't handle the snakes. Don't try to chase a snake down, that's where really we see most of them," John Walters, MD, chairman of the emergency department at Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant (S.C.) Hospital, told WJBF.

ER physicians and veterinarians also agreed anyone bit by a venomous snake should seek medical treatment.

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