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As Arizona temperatures begin to rise, rattlesnakes start to emerge

PHOENIX — It’s that time of year again: The temperatures are warming up and rattlesnakes are coming out of hibernation for the summer.

“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 has already treated nine rattlesnake bite victims this month, the most bites it has seen in March since 2004.

Lovecchio said people are generally bitten if they move, poke or pick up a rattlesnake. He advised simply leaving an area if 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 some plays around with it,” he said.

If bitten, Lovecchio said it’s best not to attempt to treat the wound yourself.

“The important thing is what not to do — 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.”