Rattlesnake season has arrived, and California residents should take steps to avoid getting bitten as severe reactions are becoming more common, a UC San Diego doctor cautioned Wednesday.
Most rattlesnake bites occur between April and October, with the greatest number in May, according to the California Poison Control System.
"Over the past couple of years we have seen an increase in powerful snake bites and patient reactions to the bites have become more severe,'' said Dr. Richard Clark, executive medical director for the CPCS and director of UCSD's Division of Medical Toxicology.
"It is important for Californians to take extra precautions as they start to head outside, particularly with children and pets as their natural curiosity could create a deadly encounter with a rattlesnake,'' he said.
A rattlesnake bite can produce swelling and bruising and can be fatal, especially in children and pets, according to the CPCS.
The CPCS receives nearly 300 calls each year about rattlesnake bites. There were 41 snake bites in San Diego reported to the CPCS last year.
To avoid rattlesnake bites, the CPCS recommends:
-keeping children and pets close by when outdoors;
-wearing boots or covered footwear when walking through wild areas;
-staying on trails when hiking, and looking where you step;
-not picking up or disturbing snakes, even if it appears dead; and
-not reaching into holes, bushes or anywhere that is hidden.