As the weather starts to warm in the desert, the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center has started to see an increase in calls regarding rattlesnake and scorpion activity and envenomations. Arizona typically has around 200 rattlesnake envenomations annually, and over 10,000 scorpion stings reported.

“As we move into the warmer months of the year, more and more of Arizona’s venomous critters become active,” said Bryan Kuhn, PharmD, DABAT, Clinical Educator at the Banner Poison Center. “If you see a snake in the wild, try to go around the snake and give a wide distance, if possible, or just turn back and find another safer route,” Kuhn advised.

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If there is a rattlesnake around the home, call a profession pest-control company to relocate the snake. Don’t try to move, kill, or relocate the snake yourself. Doing so only increases the likelihood of a bite. Rattlesnakes and scorpions enjoy hiding underneath structures such as wood, brush, and rock piles. Removal of these debris piles can help minimize the likelihood a rattlesnake will take up residence near your home and decrease scorpion activity.

Unfortunately, many children are bitten or stung by these venomous critters every year. According to Maureen Roland, RN, director of the Banner Poison Center, there are usually a little over a dozen pediatric cases of rattlesnake bites and thousands of scorpion stings annually. “We encourage parents to start early with warning their children about rattlesnakes and scorpions, and to stay away and don’t touch,” Roland said. If anyone is stung by a scorpion, call the Poison Center right away.

In case of a rattlesnake bite, remain calm and call 9-1-1. Even though up to 25% of rattlesnake bites are considered dry bites (i.e., no venom deposited), all rattlesnake bites must be evaluated in an emergency department.

With so many new residents moving to Arizona from out of state, and perhaps unfamiliar with the native venomous critters and plants throughout the state, one can always call the Poison Control Center 24/7 to ask questions about any of the various venomous animals or poisonous plants found throughout the state and methods of prevention, risk mitigation, and treatment.

If you or a loved one believe there has been exposed to any poison, medication or chemical, please call the poison center immediately at 1-800-222-1222. The poison centers can assist in the evaluation and management and help determine if it is necessary to seek additional medical attention. 

Call 1(800)222-1222 or 602-253-3334 (local); 24/7/365 with questions regarding this or any other poison, drug, or chemical exposure.