Continuing our compendium of resources to protect against dangerous summer
animal bites, let’s look at a few others.
Squirrels, rats and other rodents
Rats, mice and squirrels prefer to keep their distance from humans, but
if they happen to bite, or if we come into contact with their saliva or
feces, they may transmit a number of diseases in the process. Some common
nasty illnesses include rabies, Lyme disease, hantavirus and rat bite
fever. Another danger from these pests, one we don’t often hear
about nowadays, is plague (yes,
that plague), commonly carried by ground squirrels.
How can we protect ourselves and our children? The
CDC offers several articles that may help. If you do receive a bite, seek medical attention immediately.
We generally don’t worry about getting diseases from spider bites;
we do worry about the bites themselves. Many species of spiders are poisonous,
some injecting life-threatening amounts of poison with their bites. Among
the most common (and most deadly) are the black widow and brown recluse spiders.
If you receive a spider bite that appears infected (or if you know the
spider was poisonous), seek medical attention right away. In the meantime, the
Mayo Clinic offers helpful tips for preventing spider bites, and
EarthSky lists 10 things to know about the brown recluse in particular.
Snakes may be among the scariest of the venom-carrying creatures, but most
species won’t seek out contact from humans, and they will only bite
if they feel threatened. The main exceptions are the constrictor species
like pythons and boas, predators who coil around their victims to suffocate
them. Typically, constrictors aren’t a threat in the U.S. except
for those who keep them as pets, or in the wild if an owner releases them
(as has happened frequently in Florida).
If a snake bites you, seek medical attention even if you are unsure if
the snake was poisonous. For helpful advice on avoiding snake encounters,
this article by the USDA, and
this one by Active.
Many unwanted bites and encounters occur while families are traveling on
vacation, so for additional safety, check out our article on
Summer Road Safety Tips. If you seek medical attention from a bite or illness and believe you
have suffered from medical error, our
Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys can assist. Please contact us for more information.