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Watch out for snakes: Bite numbers are rising and here's why

As many as 8,000 people are bitten in the United States each year by venomous snakes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the bites are fatal to about five out of those thousands of people.

One epidemiologist said that the number of people bitten each year is rising -- by about 100 to 200 people. She said the reason for this increase is due to global warming, which means that snakes are moving father north. Increased urbanization in areas with forests and creeks mean that snakes and people are coming in contact more frequently.

Areas that have experienced flooding see more snakes, too, as the snakes are displaced and head to higher ground.

One research scientist says that more people will die from bee stings, dog bites or horses than from a snake bite. Snakes aren't aggressive, said the scientist, but they are defensive.

Snake bite prevention starts with being alert to where you are and knowing that snakes could be in the same area. Avoid putting your hands into deep grass, wood piles, rocks and crevices. Wear shoes or boots -- not flip-flops. If it is after dark, be sure to carry a flashlight. Leave any snake you find alone. Don't pick up any snake, even one you think is dead. Snakes can have a "reflex strike" for several hours after they die.

If you do suffer a bite, it's best to get help as quickly as you can. Don't try to catch the snake or wait to see if the venom starts to take effect. Instead, let medical staff provide treatment, including antivenom if needed.

Many people keep snakes as pets in their homes. Some are venomous. If you are bitten by a snake in another person's home, you may be able to seek compensation from the owner's home insurance policy. An experienced New Hampshire personal injury lawyer can help you learn more about your legal options and how to proceed.

Source: CNN, "Snake bites are on the rise in US," Susan Scutti, June 29, 2017

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