Venomous snakes can be found throughout Utah. They seek shelter in holes and under tree stumps, dense shrubs, wood piles, and debris mounds. Luckily, rattlesnakes are often heard before they are seen.
- Stay calm.
- Remove rings or jewelry before swelling starts.
- Seek medical help as soon as possible.
- Do not try to suck venom from the bite site.
- Avoid using ice or tight bandages.
- Be careful where you walk, sit, and place your hands.
- Do not try to catch or kill snakes.
- If you hear a rattle, stand still and try to spot where the sound is coming from; then slowly move away.
Spider Bites & Scorpion Bites
All spiders can bite, although they rarely cause serious problems. The two species most likely to cause harm are the black widow and brown recluse. The black widow can cause muscle cramps, severe abdominal pain, and weakness. The brown recluse is not native to Utah, but other spiders such as the hobo spider can produce similar hard-to-heal wounds. Scorpion stings are very painful, and certain scorpions may produce more severe effects.
- Clean the area with soap and water.
- Apply a cool compress.
- Seal building cracks where spiders can come indoors.
- Wear gloves and long-sleeved shirts when working around wood piles, rocks, and storage boxes.
Bee & Hornet Stings
Stings from insects such as bees, wasps, and hornets can cause pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the sting. An allergic reaction to the sting can be life threatening. Severe reactions include shortness of breath, throat or tongue swelling, wheezing, and weakness.
- Remove the stinger.
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Apply a cool compress.
- Call 911 immediately if someone is experiencing a severe reaction.
- Always wear shoes outside.
- Install screens on doors and windows.
- Keep outdoor food covered until ready to eat.
- Avoid wearing scented soaps and perfumes.
- Do not swat at stinging insects.
- Leave insect nests alone.
Ticks find hosts by climbing to the top of shrubs or tall grasses and extending their legs out as the hosts approach them. From there, they latch onto humans or animals and search for a suitable feeding site. A tick bite can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. However, these diseases are rare in Utah and can be treated effectively if caught early.
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after being in a tick- infested area.
- Conduct a full-body and hair search for ticks using a handheld mirror for hard-to-see areas.
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible; then, without twisting or crushing the tick, pull it straight out.
- Avoid folklore remedies such as using heat or painting the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible if a feasting tick is found, a rash occurs, or a fever develops.
- Avoid wooded, bushy areas and fields with high grass.
- Apply insect repellant with DEET onto skin and clothing before entering a tick habitat.
- Cover legs and arms–tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks.
- Wear light-colored clothing to more easily detect ticks.
Although mosquito bites can pass on diseases, such as West Nile Virus, bites are usually mild and not very painful. Contracting West Nile Virus is rare, but it is important to avoid bites to be safe.
- Wash the bite area with soap and water.
- Seek medical attention if you develop flu-like symptoms, including high fever, severe headache, or stiff neck.
- Use insect repellant that contains DEET and follow the directions for use.
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts outdoors.
- Stay indoors between dusk and dawn.
- Remove standing water in which mosquitos may lay eggs.
The primary concern from an animal bite is infection. The rabies virus is a serious disease of the nervous system. People can get rabies infections by coming in contact with the saliva or other bodily fluid of an infected mammal. Any mammal can get rabies, but the most common mammals to become infected are skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and bats.
- Wash bites or scratches with soap and water.
- Seek medical attention immediately if someone:
- was bitten or exposed to the bodily fluid of a mammal that may carry rabies.
- has not had a tetanus shot in five years.
- has pain, swelling, redness, or pus draining from the wound.
- might need stitches.
- Call animal control to take away stray animals.
- Vaccinate dogs, cats, and other pets.
- Do not touch wild animals—dead or alive.