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Arizona rattlesnake season officially underway

PHOENIX — It is that time of year again in Arizona when rattlesnakes are beginning to come out of hibernation.

“When the temperature rises a little bit, we start to see rattlesnakes and when the humidity rises a little bit, we start to see rattlesnakes, so the season has officially started,” Dr. Frank Lovecchio, co-medical director of Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, said.

The center reports they have already treated nine rattlesnake bite victims this month — the most bites they have had in the month of March since 2004.
Lovecchio said people are generally bitten if they move, poke or pick up a rattlesnake.

He advised simply leaving an area that you see or hear a rattlesnake.

“The chances of you getting envenomated by a rattlesnake if you’re just minding your own business on a hike and then accidentally step on them — sure that can happen, but it is much more common if someone plays around with it,” he said.

If bitten however, Lovecchio warned not to attempt to treat the wound yourself.

“The important thing is what not to do and that’s not to put a tourniquet on — not to apply ice, not to suck on it,” he said.

“Probably the best thing to do is to come into the hospital for evaluation.”