June Newsletter
Warning! Graphic images below
By now you should have noticed that poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are everywhere. They grow in wooded places across Texas. Poison Ivy and poison oak grow as vines or shrub and poison sumac is usually a shrub or tree. They say "leaves of three, leave it be" but that only applies to poison ivy and poison oak. Poison Sumac leaves grow in clusters of 7-13 leaves with one by itself at the end.
Technically speaking, the plants aren't really poisonous but rather carry a sticky oil called urushiol, that causes the itchy, blistering rash after it comes in contact with the skin. Even the slightest contact like brushing up against the leaves, can cause a reaction to the skin. The rash usually shows up in the first 24-72 hours, peaks within a week, and can last for up to 3 weeks.
In rare cases, people develop a more severe reaction to poison ivy called "Black-Spot Poison Ivy," which causes black spots or streaks to the skin. This is caused when an uncommon reaction between the urushiol sap and exposure to oxygen and moisture, comes in contact with the skin. 
To protect yourself, consider the following:
  • Keep your skin covered to avoid contact with these plants.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, and closed shoes if you're in an area where they grow
  • Urushiol begins to stick within minutes. If you know you’ve made contact with poison ivy, oak, or sumac, wash the area with lukewarm water and soap ASAP.
There are four kinds of venomous snakes in Texas: coral snakes, copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins) and rattlesnakes. In this newsletter we will focus on the infamous Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.

In Texas, there are 10 species of rattlesnakes. The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake easily rates as one of the most dangerous snakes in the U.S. This species causes more fatalities than any other snake in the United States. It's venom is considered to be Hemotoxic, which means it affects the blood and can damage the tissue.

  • Heavy-bodied snake
  • Triangular-shaped head
  • Two dark diagonal lines on each side of its face running from the eyes to its jaws
  • Dark diamond-shaped patterns along its back 
  • The tail has black and white bands just above the rattles
  • Adults vary between 32-74 inches (81-188 cm) on average
  • Intense pain
  • Edema & swelling
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Numbness & weakness
  • Increase heart rate, vomiting & confusion
  • Call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for instructions on all snakebites.
  • All snakebites should be examined and treated by a physician
  • If bitten, note time of the bite, remove jewelry or other items that might constrict swelling, and remain calm.
  • Do not try to capture the snake.
  • Do not cut the wound and try to extract the venom.
  • Do not use ice or a tourniquet.
  • Do not take pain relievers or other medications without first seeking medical advice. Do not drink alcohol.

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