The hazardous animals of Galveston can be found in the sea, on the land, and in the air.
Aside from sharks, other aquatic wildlife around Galveston Island can dangerous. The jellyfish can sometimes be abundant in the surf surrounding the island, and every year there are hundreds of cases of jellyfish stings. Stings from jellyfish are only rarely liffe-threatening. However, treating the stings are necessary. Here are some treatment steps for jellyfish stings:
Treatment for Hypersensitive Individuals- Calm and reassure the victim. If a jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war tentacle adheres to the skin, cover it with sand and carefully pull it off(do not rub it off) using a heavy glove, cloth, or towel. Do not touch it with your bare hand or skin. Even when detached from the main organism, this tentacle can sting you. Seek medical attention immediately. Jellyfish stings are most serious when they are numerous, or involve the very young or very old.
Treatment for Individuals who are not Hypersensitive- Remove tentacle or jellyfish as described above. Thoroughly wash the injury and apply rubbing alcohol or vinegar several times, being careful not to touch the sting area with an unprotected hand. Apply a thick coat of baking soda paste, which may be shaved or scraped off after 30 minutes, at which time vinegar or rubbing alcohol is reapplied. Other remedies that can be applied include diluted household ammonia, lemon juice, and salt water.
The sandy dunes and marshes of the island are home to the land dwelling hazards for the survivors. The island is home to five species of venemous snakes, including a relative of the cobra and three types of pit vipers.
Pit vipers are venomous snakes that have an opening on each side of the head between the eye and the nostril. In Texas, there are three groups of these snakes: Copperheads, Cottonmouths, and Rattlesnakes.
Copperheads have chestnut or reddish-brown crossbands on a lighter colored body. These snakes are found in rocky areas and wooded bottomlands and are rare in dry areas. In the spring they can be found along streams and rivers, as well as in weed-covered vacant lots. There are three subspecies of Copperheads in Texas with the Southern copperhead (20-30 inches long) indigenous to the Galveston area.
The Latin name piscivorous means 'fish eating,' indicating its dietary characteristics. Also known as 'water moccasins', only one recognized supspecies is found in Texas; Western cottonmouth (A.p. leucostoma). Cottonmouths can be dark brown, olive-brown, olive green or almost solid black. They are marked with wide, dark bands, which are more distinct in some individuals than in others. Juvenile snakes are more brilliantly marked. The cottonmouth gets its name from the white tissue inside its mouth, which it displays when threatened. This heavy-bodied snake, which averages about 3-1/2 feet in length, is found over the eastern half of the state in swamps and sluggish waterways, coastal marshes, rivers, ponds and streams.
Western diamondback (Crotalus atrox)
Brown, diamond-shaped markings along the middle of the back and alternating black and white rings on the tail. Averages 3 1/2 to 4-1/2 feet in length, and can reach seven feet. This is the most common and widespread venomous snake in Texas.
Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Also known as the Canebreak rattlesnake, it is a large, heavy-bodied snake averaging 4-1/2 feet. Brown or tan with wide, dark crossbands. Tail is entirely black. Found in wooded areas in wet bottomlands.
Micrurus fulvius tener
The brightly colored Texas coral snake is the state's only member of the Elapidae family, which includes the cobras of Asia and Africa. The coral snake is slender with a small indistinctive head and round pupils, and is usually is 2-1/2 feet or shorter. Its distinctive pattern is a broad black ring, a narrow yellow ring and a broad red ring, with the red rings always bordered by the yellow rings. Several harmless snakes are similarly marked, but never with the red and yellow touching. 'Red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black, venom lack,' is a handy way to distinguish the highly venomous coral snake from nonvenomous ringed species. Coral snakes are found in the southeastern half of Texas in woodlands, canyons and coastal plains.
In the event that someone is bitten by one of these venemous steps, here is some first aid instruction:
What to do if bitten- Assume envenomation has occurred, especially if initial symptoms are present. Initial symptoms of pit viper bites include fang puncture marks; in addition, they almost always include immediate burning pain at the bite site, immediate and usually progressive local swelling within five minutes, as well as local discoloration of the skin. Initial symptoms of coral snake bites include tremors, slurred speech, blurred or double vision, drowsiness or euphoria and a marked increase in salivation within four hours; however, life-threatening effects from coral snake envenomation may not be evident for 24 hours or longer. Identify the species of venomous snake that inflicted the bite, if possible, taking care to avoid another person being bitten. Identification is not necessary, but may be helpful. Keep the victim as calm as possible. This helps reduce the spread of venom and the onset of shock. Keep yourself and any other members of the group calm as well. This will help reassure the victim and ensure that the appropriate first-aid measures are followed, as well as preventing anyone else from becoming injured. Know and be alert for the symptoms of shock, and institute the proper treatment should it ensue. Difficulty in breathing and/or kidney failure are frequent symptoms of envenomation. Wash the bite area with a disinfectant if available. Remove jewelry such as rings and watches, as well as tight-fitting clothes, before the onset of swelling. Reduce or prevent movement of a bitten extremity, using a splint if possible; this helps decrease the spread of venom. For the same reason, position the extremity below the level of the heart. Get the victim to a medical facility as soon as possible and begin treatment there with intravenous antivenom, crystalloid solutions and antibiotics. Antivenom treatment is generally most effective within the first four hours of envenomation, and is ineffective after 8-10 hours.
What NOT to do- Do not make incisions over the bite marks. This can result in significant damage to already traumatized tissue, and can damage intact structures such as nerves and blood vessels, enhance bleeding caused by anticoagulant components of venom and increase the rapid spread of venom throughout the body if the circulatory system is compromised. A suction device may be used without making any incisions. This device may remove significant quantities of venom, although its efficiency has yet to be conclusively determined. Do not use a tourniquet or other constricting ban except in extreme cases of envenomation, and then only if properly trained in the technique. Such devices are of no value if applied more than thirty minutes after the bite, and if improperly used they can restrict blood vital blood flow to the traumatized tissue and possibly result in the amputation of an extremity. Unbearable pain can also result, and the improper loosening of such devices can allow sudden systemic absorption of venom. Do not use cryotherapy (including cold compresses, ice, dry ice, chemical ice packs, spray refrigerants, and freezing) for the same reasons that the tourniquets should be avoided, and also because it can increase the area necrosis. Do not use electroshock therapy, a method popularized following publication of a letter from a missionary in South America reporting its effectiveness in treating bites from snakes of uncertain identity. Several controlled clinical trials and at least one on humans have failed to demonstrate any positive result; moreover, the potential negative results from the uncontrolled use of an electric charge are obvious. Do not drink alcohol, as it dilates blood vessels and increases absorption from the circulatory system, and thus helps spread venom faster. Do not use aspirin or related medications to relieve pain, because they increase bleeding. A pain reliever not containing aspirin, however, may be used. Do not use the pressure/immobilization technique, which consists of firmly wrapping the entire limb with an elastic bandage and then splinting, especially for pitviper bites. The theory behind this treatment is to confine the venom to the area of the bite until reaching a medical facility, but studies have shown the technique to be ineffective or worse with venoms which produce local swelling and tissue damage. Do not administer antivenom in the field unless properly trained in the procedure, unless evacuation to a medical facility will take many hours or days, or unless envenomation has been extreme. Intramuscular or subcutaneous application of antivenom has proven to be much less effective, and in some cases ineffective, than intravenous administration. Acute allergic reactions to antivenom can occur, and contemplated field administration of antivenom should include provision for a sufficient supply of epinephrine (adrenalin) to counteract any such potential effects.
Finally, the survivors will have to be wary from animal attacks from the skies.
Galveston is a haven for mosquitos, and even insect repellent seems ineffective in preventing their bites. Besides the irritating itch associated with a bite, the mosquitos of Galveston can carry diseases such as St. Louis encephalitis (one quarter of all U.S. encephalitis vicitms were infected in Texas) and Dengue Fever.
The survivors also must be wary of any bees flying in the area, as the bees may be africanized honey bees, commonly known as killer bees. Texas was the first state in the U.S. to be invaded by the killer bees, and the first U.S. fatality was recorded in a coastal Texas town.
But perhaps the biggest hazard of all in Galveston will be the weather. There are more heat-related deaths in Texas than fatalities from all the other hazards combined.