Bitten: What to do if a rattlesnake bites
June 10, 2012 by bikekor
The weather heats. The snakes come out. Sometimes they bite and we all know, that ain't good.
Here's a little guide to help if it does happen.
The best advice? Don't let it happen. Stay alert when you're on the trail.
That being said, if you encounter someone who has been bitten or you are bitten by a rattlesnake bite, follow these rules:
Rule #1: Call 911 (If your phone doesn't work, go immediately to Rule #2)
Rule #2: GET TO THE HOSPITAL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Rule #3: Monitor the patient's AIRWAY, BREATHING, & CIRCULATION but don't forget the goal of Rule #2.
Rule #4: Remove jewelry, watches or tight clothing. The bite will cause the area to swell dramatically and make circulation difficult.
Rule #5: Remain calm and limit movement of the bitten part if possible. This becomes complicated for the leg or foot, especially if you're alone. If you have a SAM Splint or something similar, quickly splint the bitten extremity. Use common sense and don't do anything that will prevent or delay the Goal of Rule #2. If you're alone get to a phone or get help as soon as possible.
Rule #6: Do not try to suck out the venom. It doesn't work. Remember the Goal of Rule #2.
Rule #7: Don't use a tourniquet. It only wastes time. Remember the Goal of Rule #2
Rule #8: Don't ice it. It only wastes time. Remember the Goal of Rule #2
Rule #9: Leave the snake alone after it bites you. If you want to prove that it was a rattlesnake take a picture.
Rule #10: Monitor the progress of the swelling of the bitten extremity every 15 minutes. You can do this by drawing a circle around the swelling with a pen or marker but make sure you're working on the Goal of Rule #2.
Rule #11: Keep your cool. You'll probably be fine if you get to the hospital and get anti-venom in you.
As you can see, a visit to your local ER to get some anti-venom is crucial. Here's to hoping it never happens to you, your friends and family, and your dog. (Dogs, by the way, who run around off leash, are more at risk. If you love Fido, keep that in mind.)