Rattlesnake Bites

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Thanks to Bill Nation, MDDownload PDF: Rattlesnake_Bites

Rattlesnake venom causes two types of injury. It can cause significant injury to the tissues in the area of the bite, and it can cause a variety of systemic, or body-wide problems as well. Proper treatment, both first aid and hospital-based treatment can reduce or prevent the majority of serious consequences.

So someone has been bitten: what do I do now?
First: get the person away from the snake, and don’t get bitten in the process. Dead rattlesnakes can bite due to a reflex! Also, it is a good idea to take a digital photo of the snake with your camera or cell phone for later identification, if readily available, unless you are positive of the type of snake. And don’t waste time killing the snake. The victim is your first concern.

Second: keep the victim supine (lying flat on his or her back), warm, and as calm as possible. Then arrange for them to be transported to the nearest facility that can provide definitive care, preferably by ambulance. This means a hospital with the ability to give anti venom treatment, if warranted. You have some time. Antivenom treatment is most effective if started within six hours after the bite.

Third: immobilize the affected body part in a comfortable position at the level of the heart, and remove any rings, watches or restrictive clothing from the affected extremity.

Fourth: Cleanse the wound. Soap and water are just fine.

(Continue reading PDF – see link above…)