Kent Donahue


ORLANDO, FL – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County is advising residents to avoid injury from animals that may be displaced by the storm.

How to prevent snake bites:

  • To get to higher ground, be aware of snakes swimming in the water and snakes hiding under debris or other objects.
  • If you see a snake, slowly move away from it and do not touch it.

Symptoms of snake bite:

Watch out for signs that you may have a snake bite. If you have to wade in high water, you may or may not feel a bite. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • A pair of puncture marks on the wound
  • Redness and swelling around the bite
  • Severe pain at the bite site
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath (in extreme cases, breathing may stop completely)
  • Visual impairment
  • Increased salivation and sweating
  • Numbness or tingling in your face and/or limbs

What to do:

  • Try to see the color and skin pattern of the snake which can help in snakebite treatment.
  • Keep the bitten person still and calm. This can slow the spread of the venom if the snake is venomous. See a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Call 911 or call your local Emergency Medical Services.

– If you cannot get the person to the hospital immediately, provide first aid.

– Place or sit the person whose bite is below heart level.

– Tell him to stay calm and still.

– Cover the bite with a clean, dry bandage.

What to do:

  • Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it (this could put you or someone else at risk of being bitten).
  • Do not apply a tourniquet.
  • Do not cut the wound with a knife.
  • Do not swallow the poison.
  • Do not apply ice or submerge the wound in water.
  • Do not drink alcohol as a pain reliever.
  • Do not drink caffeinated beverages.

How to prevent fire ant stings and bites:

  • Anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should discuss their allergies with their primary care provider, who may recommend carrying an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen). We recommend that you wear a medical allergy bracelet or necklace.
  • During flooded conditions, colonies of fire ants are able to swim in groups or “rafts” and pose a threat to anything that encounters them.
  • Colonies can also form under rocks, trees or other debris on the ground, the edges of water bodies, garbage cans, and areas with spilled food or sugary drinks.
  • Expect internal invasions. Fire ants can easily enter structures after a flood through small cracks and crevices. Sometimes entire colonies will migrate into structures and nest in wall cavities, in the beds of children or immobile people.
  • Do not stand on or near ant hills and do not disturb them.
  • Be careful when picking up objects (including animal carcasses) as they may become covered in ants.
  • Fire ants can also be found in trees or water, so always check the area before you start.

First aid for a fire ant bite:

  • Scrub the ants quickly as they will stick to the skin with their jaws.
  • Antihistamines may help.
  • Follow the directions on the packaging.
  • Insomnia may occur.
  • If a sting causes severe chest pain, nausea, profuse sweating, shortness of breath, severe swelling, or slurred speech, seek immediate medical attention.

Prevention of rodent infestation:

  • Surviving rodents often move to new areas in search of food, water and shelter.
  • Removing food sources, water, and objects that provide shelter for rodents is the best way to prevent contact with rodents.
  • Dispose of trash frequently and regularly inside and outside the home.
  • Thoroughly clean areas with signs of rodent activity to reduce the likelihood of exposure to germs and disease.
  • For rodent control and disease information, visit:

For more information, please contact your local county health department or visit or

About the Florida Department of Health

Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Council, the department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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