Experts are says to watch out for snakes this time of year. So I have put together a quick snakebite update as well as pictures of common Arizona Rattlesnakes
SNAKEBITES IN HUMANS
A rattlesnake bite is a serious event, but by staying calm, following good procedures and using common sense, it doesn’t have to be a fatal event. In fact, Rattlesnake bites are generally not fatal. The signs and symptoms of poisoning often take several hours to develop. Reliable antivenins are available at virtually all medical facilities and proper prehospital care can lessen the toxicity of the event and resulting tissue damage.
There have been many snake bite remedies offered over the years. Recent studies have concluded that the following protocols are best: (Note 1)
1. Stay calm, get safely away from the snake, and have someone call 9-1-1 (or the emergency number in your area). The less the victim moves the bitten site, the less likely the venom will be profused and cause damage.
2. Have the victim lie down with the affected limb lower than the heart. Keep the limb immobilized. If practical, splint the limb.
3. Treat for shock and preserve body heat.
4. Remove any rings, bracelets, boots, or other restricting items from the bitten extremity. (It WILL swell.)
5. Apply a light constricting band about 2″ above and below the bite, however never place the bands on either side of a joint (such as above and below the knee or elbow). This band should be made up of wide, soft material, which could be a handkerchief or shredded clothing. The band should only be as tight as the band the nurse applies when giving a blood test.
*NOTE: The purpose of constricting bands is to restrict lymphatic flow, not blood, so they should not be too tight. Check pulses below the bands and readjust them as necessary when they tighten due to swelling.
6. Wash the bite with soap and water (if available).
7. If the victim has to walk out, sit calmly for 20-30 minutes to let the venom localize at the site, proceed calmly to the nearest source of help and try to avoid unnecessary exertion which will stimulate circulation of the poison.
8. Get the victim to definitive medical care for antivenin, which will provide the greatest relief from the toxic effects of the bite.
ACTIONS TO AVOID:
1. DO NOT cut the bite. The additional tissue damage may actually increase the diffusion of the toxins throughout the body.
2. DO NOT apply a tourniquet. Such action can result in the loss of the limb.
3. NEVER try to suck out the venom by mouth. You can try the suction cup in a snakebite kit if it doesn’t delay other needed treatment. Suctioning seldom provides any measurable advantages, however.
4. Do not apply cold and/or ice packs. Recent studies indicate that application of cold or ice makes the injury much worse.