Preventing and Treating Snake Bites

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Preventing and Treating Snake Bites

Post by ThreeperMan on Thu 16 Jul 2009, 03:00

Whilst snake bites can be poisonous and sometimes even deadly, a snake is far more likely to be scared of you than you are of it so, even if you find yourself in a survival situation where you know snakes could be present, you shouldn’t let your fears blow things out of proportion.

You can never truly eliminate the possibility of encountering a snake but there are certain precautions and actions you can take to minimise the risks.

When Out Walking
Firstly, make sure that you’re wearing boots or strong shoes and long trousers where possible when you’re out walking in terrain where you know or think that there may be snakes. It’s important to make plenty of noise to signal your presence. Snakes will usually want to avoid human confrontation at all costs so making a noise will reduce the element of surprise which can cause a snake to attack. Tapping on the ground ahead of you with a stick is usually adequate warning.

Snakes like to take advantage of the shade so if possible, try to avoid walking near rocks, logs or similar places where a snake may be seeking cover. Stepping over a fallen tree, for example, is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Always step onto the tree trunk and make sure a snake isn’t resting on the other side. Also be careful where you place your hands as well as your feet and try to get into the habit of looking down at the ground frequently as you walk along.

Although it might seem obvious, you should ensure that you don’t put your hands into any dark crevices until you’ve fully investigated the situation first. Rock crevices and hollow logs, in particular, are perfect resting places for snakes.

When Going to Sleep
When preparing your camp in an area which is popular with snakes, make sure that you don’t sleep on the ground unless you have a tent with a groundsheet securely sewn-in. Either erect a hammock or some other kind of platform if possible. If you do need to sleep on the ground, tucking mosquito netting underneath and around the sleeping bag is an effective barrier to an inquisitive snake.

Wherever you choose to sleep, make sure you situate yourself way from boulders, trees or tall grass or brush as these are all perfect hiding places for snakes so it’s safer if you’re in a clearing away from these types of features. Also make sure that you take a torch with you at all times if you’re walking about at night.

Handling a Snake You Have Killed
Another important thing to remember if you have killed a snake to eat is not to handle it until you have severed its head. This is because, even after you’ve killed it, its nervous system can still be active when even a dead snake can deliver a deadly bite. Also, make sure you bury the head afterwards or dispose of it safely so that others following don’t fall victim either.

Treating a Snake Bite
Most of the ways you’ll have seen snake bites treated in films or on TV are closer to myth than reality. The most important thing to remember if you or someone you’re travelling with is bitten by a snake is to immobilise the affected limb so that the venom cannot spread around the lymphatic system to other areas of the body. Applying a pressure bandage to the bite (but never a tourniquet which could result in the loss of the limb), you should try to keep the victim calm and reassure them that things will be OK whilst keeping the affected limb at or below the level of the heart. Providing the victim does not fall prey to other conditions such as shock, the next stage is to try to get them to a hospital or clinic as quickly as possible.

Other Things to Remember
If you’re regularly out and about in locations which have a large snake population, it’s well worth familiarising yourself about the different species. This can help to save time when doctors are trying to administer the right kind of snake anti-venom if you’ve been able to identify it.

Snake bites are, fortunately, rarer than you might think and most bites are not life threatening as long as medical help is obtained quickly. The important thing is to learn as much about the species that may be living in areas you are travelling to so that you can best avoid encountering them in the first place.

http://www.thesurvivalexpert.co.uk

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How to Treat a Rattlesnake Bite

Post by ThreeperMan on Thu 16 Jul 2009, 04:57

The immediate response to a rattlesnake bite is to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. While this is the logical answer many times rattlesnake encounters occur while in the wilderness. Since time is of the essence there are several do’s and don’ts when you or someone you know is bitten by a rattlesnake.
1. There are a lot of myths concerning snake bites and the proper treatment for them. Since the bites can become fatal, the treatment is very important.

Do Not

1.
* Apply a tourniquet or tight band around wound.
* Apply cold packs or ice to the skin; it will not slow the spread of the venom.
* Use your mouth to suction out the venom.
* Consume alcohol, caffeine, aspirin or anything by mouth.
* Run or panic, an increased heart rate will speed the venom through the blood system.
* Attempt to catch the snake or bring it into the hospital.

Preparation

1.
* Bring equipment in case of a snake encounter in the wilderness. Always carry water with you.
* Should you encounter a snake and want to avoid it just simply walk away. Snakes attack humans only out of self defense; it will not follow you.
* A snake bite kit or a first aid kit is essential when walking through the wilderness. Poisonous snake bites are not easily identifiable. Most will have one or more fang marks where the venom was discharged. The victim should feel a burning pain at the site of the snake bite, there should also be a considerable amount of swelling.

Do

1.
* Identify the species of snake, make sure that it is a rattlesnake.
* Move the victim away from the snakes striking distance to prevent any further bites.
* Keep victim down, still and calm.
* Remove all clothing or jewelry that may become constrictive, swelling may become a problem with any constricting articles of clothing.
* Wash the wound with water.
* Immobilize the bite with a sling or some sort of non-constricting object.
* Suction the wound, only if you have a snake bite kit. DO NOT use your mouth as a suction.
* Keep the wounded area lower than heart level, but do not allow it to hang down.
* Carry victim if possible; doing so will slow the movement of the venom
* Transport victim to the nearest medical facility for anti-venom.

Caution

1.
* Snakes are very quiet creatures and there a few tips which may help reduce the risks of a snake bite while in the wilderness. It is always good to know a little preventative tips before entering the wild.

* Avoid reaching under rocks or into crevasses. Snakes will often hide under them to get out of the sun.
* Check boots, sleeping bags and backpacks thoroughly prior to putting them on.
* Sleep in tents and make sure they are zipped up at all areas so a snake cannot get in.
* Shake out shoes and clothing each morning before putting them on.
* Make noise while you walk, it will scare the snakes away.
* Identification of the proper snake is vitally important. Should the wrong anti-venom be given do to a misidentification of species of snake, the results will almost assuredly be fatal.

http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-a-Rattlesnake-Bite

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/

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