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How strong is your poison vocabulary?
When we hear words we don't normally use it may be hard to understand what someone means. Although there are some general medical words that may be familiar, each branch of medicine has a set of terms unique to its specialist. Today, we list the most common words used at Poison Centers:
  • Toxicology: the branch of science concerned with the nature, effects, and detection of poisons.
  • Toxicologist: experts on poisons and poisoning.
  • Poison: Any substance that can make you sick, hurt you, or kill you if used in the wrong way or the wrong amount.
  • Toxic: poisonous
  • Toxin: : a poisonous substance that is a specific product of a living organism 
  • Venom: a poisonous substance secreted by animals such as snakes, spiders, and scorpions.
  • Antivenom: antibodies used by collecting venom from the relevant animal and injecting small amounts of it into a domestic animal. The antibodies that form are then collected from the domestic animal's blood and purified. Versions are available for spider bites, snake bites, fish stings, and scorpion stings.
  • Overdose: A drug overdose is the ingestion or application of a drug or other substance in quantities greater than are recommended.
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September 2019 Newsletter

Venomous Snakes of Texas

The weather is still hot in Texas and everyone knows to be watchful for snakes during the warmer months. 
As our population continues to grow, and people continue to move into untouched areas, encounters with venomous snakes are going to occur. As a result, many of these encounters can occur around the home, playgrounds and workplace.  Experts at the Texas Poison Center Network are urging Texans to be aware of potential dangers lurking in recreational areas and around their home.


There are more than a hundred different types of species of snakes in Texas, but only about 15 percent are poisonous. Copperheads, coral snakes, cottonmouths (also called water moccasins) and rattlesnakes are the most common venomous snakes found in the state. 

 Safety Around the Home
  • Snakes inhabit areas for specific purposes of seeking food and shelter.
  • Keep wood piles, brush piles, trash dumps and livestock pens as far as possible from the residence. Never put an arm or leg into something if you can not see the bottom.
  • Keep storage areas and livestock sheds/barns as neat as possible. Treat tools and materials stored on the floor as possible snake shelters. Treat overturned boats, tarps and similar objects as potential shelter for transient snakes moving through the area.
  • Remember snakes are able to crawl into small openings. Keep this in mind when entering crawl spaces, basements, garages and similar areas.
Safety in the Field
  • Since venomous snakes are common in the rural areas of Texas, it is important for ranchers, hunters, rural residents, outdoor enthusiasts and other that frequent these areas to exercise caution.
  • Never step over a log without first seeing what is on the other side. If you must move a log - use a long stick or garden tool first, to ensure snakes are neither under, on or around these favored habitats.
  • Use a flashlight when moving about, even in your home yard, at night.
  • Animal burrows make excellent habitat for snakes - don't reach in without first checking.
  • Stay calm and still if you see a snake. Allow the snake to get away. If you must move, back slowly and carefully away from the snake.
  • Stay on hiking paths and wear thick boots and pants, avoid walking in tall grass, do not reach into logs, rocky crevices or under rocks, and use a walking stick to beat the ground to let snakes know you are coming.           
First Aid
  • All snake bites should be evaluated by a physician. 
  • If you are bitten, stay calm, remove any items of clothing or jewelry that may constrict the area, prevent movement of the bitten extremity and wash the bite with soap and water, and immediately call the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222 as soon as possible. 
  • Do not attempt to make an incision and suction the bite, apply hot or cold packs, or constrict the area with a tourniquet. Do not waste any time trying to kill or capture the offending snake; a visual description is helpful.

Want more poison information???
Don't forget to check out the Texas Poison Center Network's blog !