Friday, May 25 , 2018, 4:06 pm | A Few Clouds 66º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Hike Without Getting Rattled – How to Avoid Snake Bites

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(Cottage Health photo)

With warmer weather upon us, more people are enjoying the outdoors, and more rattlesnakes are turning up in a variety of habitats.

Rattlesnakes are widespread throughout California and are usually not aggressive unless they are provoked or feel threatened. Most bites occur when they are handled or accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing.

There are about 800 rattlesnake bites a year in the state, according to the California Poison Control System, with one to two deaths.

Here are some tips to help keep you safe and avoid rattlesnakes along with some dos and don’ts if someone gets bitten.

Avoiding Rattlesnakes While Hiking

» Wear sturdy boots

» Avoid wearing flip-flops

» Stick to well-traveled trails

» Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see

» Don’t hike alone

» Keep a leash on your dog. Dogs hold their noses close to the ground, which increases their risk.

What to DO If Bitten

» Stay calm

» Call 9-1-1 and offer the following information: the nature of your injury (e.g. rattlesnake bite), the location on the body of the injury (e.g. lower leg), your location (GPS coordinates on a cell phone would be great if on a trail), description of clothing

» Allow the wound to bleed

» Rinse the wound with drinking water then cover it with a bandage

» Mark the progression of the swelling every 15-30 minutes

» Remove watches and rings and loosen clothing that may constrict swelling

» Remember anti-venom is very effective, so there’s no need to panic

What NOT to Do If Bitten

» Do NOT apply a tourniquet

» Do NOT pack the bite area with ice

» Do NOT cut the wound with a knife or razor

» Do NOT suck out the venom with your mouth or a suction device

» Do NOT let the victim drink alcohol

» Do NOT try to walk out unless there are no other options

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