With the increased outdoor recreation due to COVID-19, it is important to remember to stay safe amidst your outdoor activities. In the region around Hampshire County, there are not as many threats to a person’s wellbeing as some might think, but there are certainly a few things that people need to be a little leery of when out an about.
Snakes are the thing that comes to most people’s mind this time of year, but statistically they are probably the last thing people need to be concerned about. In this area, the only snakes that need to be worried about are rattlesnakes and copperheads. With that being said, there are no documented deaths caused by copperheads in West Virginia (I was surprised by this too). The WVDNR website lists that only 4 people died from rattlesnake bites between the years 1969, and 1992. This is not the most up to date information, but it does prove that there is not a high likely hood of being killed from a snake bite.
The chance of being bitten by a venomous snake in West Virginia is well under 1%, but if you are unlucky enough to get bit, you should obviously get to a hospital as quickly as possible.
Ticks are something that people need to be concerned of as Lyme disease is on the rise everywhere. In fact, the yearly amount of cases across the country has doubled nearly every year since 2004. If caught early, Lyme disease can result in simply a minor inconvenience, much like the flu. If let go, it can result in much, much worse. Not every tick carries Lyme disease.
In fact, only a small amount do. Seed ticks, the large ones that seem to be everywhere, are virtually harmless aside from the itching sensation that they leave when you pull them out. Deer ticks on the other hand, are bad business.
These ticks are very small, and easy to miss when doing checkups. If you start to feel as though you have flu like symptoms, check yourself for the “bullseye” that deer ticks leave. If you find one, get to a doctor as soon as you possibly can in order to catch it before any serious damage takes place. I like to use Sawyer’s Permethrin on all of my clothes before going outside. It seems to actually help to repel ticks, which means less chance of contracting Lymes.
Bees are another thing that people need to be concerned with during the summer, especially if you are allergic. If you happen to get bitten or stung by a bee or wasp of some sort, make sure that to treat it as quickly as possible.
Unless you are allergic, getting stung is not necessarily a life threatening situation, but it still is not fun to walk around with large, swollen, lumps. Make sure to get ice on the area that was stung as quickly as possible. I also like to carry around a couple of tubes of Sting-Kill, to apply to any major bee stings I get. It seems to help keep the swelling down.
Don’t let the snakes, ticks, and bees keep you from getting outside and using the resources provided by the state of West Virginia and our National Parks service.
We are lucky enough to have lots of game lands to roam on in this county, and plenty of time to roam them with this year. If you have some spare time, get out and explore our public lands. The more awareness we bring to them, the more we will obtain. o