W.Va. Poison Control busts common myths | News, Sports, Jobs

MARTINSBURG — Although many Eastern Panhandle residents are enjoying the warm weather and summer fun, the West Virginia Poison Control Center issued a statement warning people against common summer poisonings such as poison ivy, snakes bites and sunburns.

In the statement, the poison center said snake bite treatment myths are common, but could frequently be harmful. Although many wives’ tales and “home remedies” advise cutting the area of the bite and sucking out the venom, the poison center said the method is not effective.

“(The cut and suck method) is often more harmful than the venom effects would have been,” the center said.

Applying tourniquets or ice to the area of a snake bite is not effective either. The poison center said tourniquets do not keep the venom in a certain area, and may cause additional skin or tissue damage. Ice may cause skin damage at the bite site as well.

“If bitten by a snake, call the West Virginia Poison Center and seek medical attention immediately. It is important to remain calm, remove any constricting items and immobilize the area bitten. There are no home remedies for a snake bite,” said Carissa McBurney, community outreach coordinator for the West Virginia Poison Center.

Although there are no home remedies for snake bites, McBurney said poison ivy can frequently be treated at home with calamine lotion, caladryl lotion or hydrocortisone cream to prevent itching. However, the poison center advised people to never use bleach or gasoline on a rash.

“Bleach is an irritant that can cause burns if not immediately washed off. Bleach on an open wound increases the risk for skin injury,” the poison center said. “Burns on top of a poison ivy rash will result in increased pain and infection risk.”

The poison center additionally says people should not eat poison ivy leaves to “desensitize” themselves because they will likely get a rash at the opening or ending of the digestive tract. Burning poison ivy plants…

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