The Oklahoman

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State briefs for April 6

Poison center warns about snakebite danger

Spring's warmer temperatures and rain mean an increase in calls to the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information about snakebites. Specialists at the center work with physicians across the state to provide the best treatment advice for nearly 300 snakebite patients each year.

Oklahoma has three types of venomous snakes: the copperhead, cottonmouth (also known as water moccasin) and several species of rattlesnake. Venomous snakes native to Oklahoma have slit pupils, a triangular-shaped heads and a heat-sensing pit on each side of the head between the eye and the nostril. The venom from these snakes can cause severe swelling and problems with blood clotting, leading to internal bleeding.

“If bitten by a snake, do not attempt to treat the wound yourself, as many home and field treatments can cause additional harm,” said Jami Johnson, assistant director of the center. Instead, wash the area immediately with soap and water and call the center. Pharmacists and registered nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-222-1222.

For more information, go to


Health care forum to feature panel discussions

The Oklahoma City chapter of Together Oklahoma will hold a free Health Care Forum to examine health issues in Oklahoma and discuss possible policy solutions. The forum will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Fairview Missionary Baptist Church, 1700 NE 7.

Attendees can ask questions of a panel of lawmakers and health care experts. Panelists are Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City; Jeff Hughes, executive director of Progressive Independence; Dan Sorrells, president of Molina HealthCare; and Carly Putnam, policy director for the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

“Oklahoma ranks among the bottom in the nation in health and near the highest in the nation in number of people without health insurance,” said Sabine Brown, Together Oklahoma coordinator. “It’s clear that we need to do more to make sure Oklahomans can see a doctor when they’re sick or fill a prescription when they need it.”

Parent support program to hold graduation

More than 80 moms who successfully completed the two-year parent support program Children First will graduate in a ceremony from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Northeast Regional Health and Wellness Campus, 2600 NE 63. The public is invited.

Children First is a program of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Oklahoma’s Nurse Family Partnership that pairs a registered nurse with first-time mothers to provide parent support. The mother and nurse work together to improve parenting skills, work on the mother’s self-sufficiency and reduce life stressors.

Many graduates made significant changes in their lives through the program. Client Elizabeth King will speak about being able to complete her college degree and begin working on a master’s degree while being a single mother.

The program helps first-time eligible families to care for themselves and their babies by providing information and education, assessing health, safety and development along with links to community resources. For more information go to

Staff reports