Snakes and mice or rats are just like people; they will seek shelter from a storm. If they are in flowing water and encounter a tree or structure, they'll likely climb up for a dry spot. |
When flood waters recede, take caution inside closets, on bookcases, under furniture or any place elusive creatures might hide. There may be an increase in snakes and rodents outside homes near piles of debris, around stalled automobiles, near or inside outbuildings or any area that offers shelter.
Flood conditions can cause new infestations of insects, rodents, snakes and other pests that can cause health problems for humans and livestock. Use flashlights to inspect closets, basements, storage areas, bins and shelves with extra caution. It's as important to avoid rat bites as you would want to avoid snake bites.
A person who is bitten should try to look for characteristics to determine the type of snake it is. Venomous snakes will leave two distinct puncture wounds, and nonvenomous snakes may leave marks more like scratches.
What precautions should be taken against rodents and wild or stray animals?
Dead and live animals can spread diseases such as Rat Bite Fever and Rabies. Avoid contact with wild or stray animals. Avoid contact with rats or rat-contaminated buildings, and if you can't avoid contact, wear protective gloves and wash your hands regularly. Get rid of dead animals as soon as possible. If bitten/scratched, get medical attention immediately.
Watch where you place your hands and feet when removing debris. If possible, don't place your fingers under debris you are moving. Wear heavy gloves. If you see a snake, step back and allow it to proceed. Wear boots at least 10 inches high. Watch for snakes sunning on fallen trees, limbs or other debris. A snake's striking distance is about ½ the total length of the snake.
Health experts have warned homeowners to take measures to stop "huge numbers" of rats flushed out by floods from re-establishing themselves.
What steps should be taken if someone is bitten by a snake?
If bitten, note the color and shape of the snake's head to help with treatment. Keep bite victims still and calm to slow the spread of venom in case the snake is poisonous. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Do not cut the wound or attempt to suck out the venom. Apply first aid: lay the person down so that the bite is below the level of the heart, and cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.
What precautions should be taken against insects?
To protect yourself from biting and stinging insects, wear long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts. Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin. Treat bites and stings with over-the-counter products that relieve pain and prevent infection. Watch out for fire ants; their bites are painful and cause blisters. Severe reactions to fire ant bites (chest pain, nausea, sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling or slurred speech) require immediate medical treatment.
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