Rodents, Snakes and Insects

During the warmer months in Colorado, wildlife is most active and poses the greatest threat to all of us in the construction industry at home and at work. Here are a few tips and concerns to consider to manage interactions with rodents, snakes and insects. According to the CDC, approximately 7,500 persons receive venomous snake bites per year while 60 persons a year die from insect stings in the US. Nearly 80% of those bitten or stung are adult males. (Use restraint. No need to prove Darwin was right!)

Insects, Spiders and Ticks
• To protect yourself from biting and stinging insects, wear gloves, long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts.
• Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin.
• Treat bites and stings with over-the-counter products that relieve pain and prevent infection.
• Avoid fire ants; their bites are painful and cause blisters.
• Severe reactions to spider & ant bites can include chest pain, nausea, sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling or slurred speech which require immediate medical treatment.

Rodents and Wild or Stray Animals
• Dead and live animals can spread diseases such as Hunta Virus & Rabies.
• Avoid contact with wild or stray animals. Keep your distance.
• Avoid contact with rats or rat-contaminated buildings. If you can’t avoid contact, wear protective gloves and wash your hands regularly.
• Remove household and lunch trash from jobsites daily.
• Never feed or approach a wild animal. Check engine compartments and tire wheel wells before reaching in.
• Get rid of dead animals as soon as possible.
• If bitten/scratched, tell your supervisor &get medical help immediately.

Snakes
• Watch where you place your hands and feet when removing debris. If possible, don’t place your fingers under debris you are moving. Wear heavy gloves. Move the object or pallet first with forklift or bucket.
• If you see a snake, step back and allow it to pass. Warn others nearby.
• Wear boots at least 10 inches high.
• Watch for snakes in trees, heavy equipment, and stored materials .
• A snake’s striking distance is about 1/2 the total length of the snake. Its further than you think!
• If bitten, note the color and shape of the snake’s head to help with treatment.
• Keep poisonous snake bite victims still to slow the spread of venom. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
• Do not cut the wound or attempt to suck out the venom. Apply first aid: lay the person down so that the bite is below the level of the heart, and cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.

(Topic suggested by Larry Gertson, Chris Walpole and Josh Amick)

Coronavirus Reminder: If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people to reduce spreading the illness. Keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face. Cover your face when at work. Stay 6 feet apart during lunch & breaks.

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