Copperhead snake bites man at Montgomery Co. lake

The copperhead is a common snake throughout much of the eastern U.S., and often runs into humans near wooded and rocky areas. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — A man was taken to the hospital earlier this week after he was bitten by a venomous copperhead snake while canoeing in a Montgomery County lake, authorities say.

The man was bringing his canoe ashore at Lake Needwood in Rock Creek Regional Park when he was bitten on the foot, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said via Twitter.

The man recognized the snake as a copperhead, and the bite marks were indicative of a venomous snake bite, Piringer said.

Bruce Anderson, director of the Maryland Poison Center, said copperhead snakes are common in Maryland. Bites usually lead to swelling and pain, he said.

The best way to avoid being bitten is to be aware of your surroundings and wear closed-toe shoes when outdoors, he said.

If bitten, Anderson said, there are a few things you should not do.

“Do not cut into the area, do not tie a tourniquet around it, do not drink alcohol,” he said.

Victims of snakes bites are urged to contact the Maryland Poison Center to figure out if the bite is from a venomous snake, and then get a ride to a nearby hospital.

If you think you’ve been bitten by a venomous snake, Piringer said, you should immobilize the bite area, keep it lower than your heart and get medical help right away.

WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this report. 

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