Rattlesnake Bite! What Should You Do?

rattlesnake bite, safety

Ouch! A rattlesnake bite will hurt.

I hate to think about how bad a rattlesnake bite would hurt.  Do you know what to do if you, your child, or someone with you gets a rattlesnake bite?

Luckily for people visiting the Rocky Mountains the Western Rattlesnakes are not aggressive.  That means that they do not bite very often.  But, if you are going to be heading into the mountains with your family you should know what to do just in case.

Generally A Rattlesnake Bite Is Not Fatal

The good news is that most of the time a rattlesnake bite will not kill you.  The bad news is that even if it doesn’t kill you it will hurt, a lot.  Read here for more information about Western Rattlesnakes.

About 25% of the time when a rattlesnake bites it does not even inject venom.  In the US there are about 7,000 – 8,000 bites a year with only 7 – 12 deaths.

*Warning* Children are more susceptible to rattlesnake bites than adults simply because they do not have as much body mass.  This means the same amount of venom will affect them more than an adult.

rattlesnake bite, safety, treatment

Photo Taber Andrew Bain.

Go To The Hospital!

The absolute best thing you can do is to immediately go to the hospital emergency room.  Most emergency rooms these days have anti-venom and are ready to deal with a rattlesnake bite.  Do not waste a lot of time trying to suck out the poison.  It is important to get to the emergency room quickly so the doctors can help you.

What Should You Do If You Are With Friends Or Family?

Remain Calm.

Wash the wound.

Try to keep the bitten part below the heart slightly.

The victim should move as little as possible.  Moving around will only speed up the venom circulating in the body.  Your goal is to keep the bitten part still and below the heart.

Keep the victim warm, hydrated, calm, and resting on the way to the emergency room.

If you are on a hike or camping you should carry or assist the victim to a car as quickly as possible and then to seek medical help.

What Should You Do If You Are Alone?

Remain calm.

Wash out the wound.

Walk back slowly to your car.  Running will only make the venom circulate through your body faster and may cause you to collapse.  Try to exert the bitten part of the body as little as possible.

Once you get to your car, call for help.