Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT Staff Writer
Oasis State Park has provided summer safety guidelines for our area. This information can help you and your family have a safe, enjoyable summer. All of the following risks are relevant to this area, so keeping yourself and others aware can help everyone be safe.
Rattlesnakes Do’s and Don’ts
• Don’t reach into holes in the ground, rocks or trees, woodpiles, abandoned buckets or tires
• When walking, stay in cleared areas or paths as much as possible, and keep a visual and auditory look-out for rattlers
• Avoid killing all snakes. Rattlesnakes play an important role in our environments such as eating rodents and insects.
• If you have to kill a rattlesnake, bury the head so that it cannot bite.
• When you hear a rattle, freeze until you identify where the sound is coming form; you don’t want to accidentally step on it when trying to flee. Once you have spotted it, give it time to move away. If it doesn’t, move slowly straight away from it.
• If you see a rattlesnake in your yard or home, call Animal Control immediately. Do not touch, go near, or poke with anything.
• If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, STAY CALM. Wash bite area gently with soap and water; apply a cold, cloth over the bite; immobilize affected area; transport safely to nearest medical facility.
• Generally rattlesnakes are not aggressive, they only strike when threatened or intentionally provoked. When given room, they will retreat.
• 25% of rattlesnake bites are dry, meaning they release no venom. Baby rattlesnakes can release more than an adult because controlling the amount of venom is a skill they develop over time.
Insect Do’s and Don’ts
• Brown recluse spiders are most active at night, and are fond of building retreats in wooden surfaces such as inside furniture, cardboard boxes, wall voids, and crawlspaces.
• Once established within a structure, brown recluse are often difficult to control. Hundreds of brown recluse may be present in a house but won’t be seen because of their reclusive, nocturnal habits.
• An effective method of killing brown recluse are sticky traps. Aerosol foggers are generally ineffective because they are so deeply inside items that the fog cannot make contact.
• They are not aggressive towards people and prefer to run rather than bite.
• Brown recluse do bite people. Many bites result in redness and swelling and are no more serious than a bee sting. The bite is usually painless and not felt by the bitten person. Deaths from brown recluse have been reported, but are extremely rare and usually occurs in very young or ill individuals.
• Black widow adults females are always shiny black with red or orange hourglass marking located on underside.
• Females can live three or more years with webs that are typically found in dark, sheltered places, woodpiles, or around foundation of structures.
• Bites are uncommon. Most occur when the spider is actually touched or pinned against something. The bite of a female is often felt as a sharp pinprick. The neurotoxic venom typically causes chest pain, muscle tightness and cramping.
• Symptoms usually decline after 48 hours, and are gone within five days. Bites very rarely result in death, but children and the ill are at the greatest risk of complications.
• Stay away from all honey bee swarms and colonies
• Get away as quickly as possible if you see a swarm; protect your face and eyes as much as possible
• Do not stand still and swat bees; If bitten pull or scrap stings from skin as soon as possible. Most venom is released with one minute.
• Wash with soap and water, apply ice to relieve pain and swelling, seek medical attention.
• If you see a bee or wasp nest at your home, call a bug exterminator immediately. Animal control will not remove nests.
• Stay hydrated. If working outside, take breaks as often as needed. If you feel dizzy, sit down immediately, preferably indoors or a vehicle with air conditioning.
• Make sure pets have plenty of water and shade. It is best to bring pets inside during extreme heat.
• Dust storms can be hazardous, especially for motorists. Don’t drive during a dust storm if you can avoid it. If you must, proceed at a speed suitable for visibility, turn on lights, and sound horn occasionally. Use the painted center line to guide you.
• Lightning is the number two weather killer.
• Listen for thunder. If you can hear it, you are close enough to the storm to get struck by lightning.
• Don’t wait for rain. Many lightning strikes occur at the very start and finish of a storm.
• Seek safe shelter, shut windows and doors, stay away from all electrical pathways into house, including appliances.
• Avoid high ground, wide open spaces, bodies of water, and tall, isolated objects such as trees and poles.
All information provided by Oasis State Park.