Friday, June 08, 2012

Listen for rattlers


One snake is nice enough to at least warn you.

My Dad used to mimic a rattlesnake’s metallic buzzzzz sound. At least we assumed that is what it was—we only knew about Dad’s version—we never heard a rattler in the…um…flesh.

I did used to watch some ER show where a Dr Sean Bush specialized in treating snake and spider bites. The venom sort of dissolves stuff in your body…not a good thing. The antivenin was also tricky.

The University of San Diego’s System Toxicologist is warning about snake bite for this summer. It is not just a movie staple or joke—8,000 people a year are nailed by venomous snakes.

This is the time of year for it. And venom is more toxic in summer than winter.

Overall, actually, the venom is getting stronger. Why? The docs say maybe survival of the fittest as wild areas shrink, only the gnarliest survive and breed.

You can be bitten by a poisonous snake and no venom may be injected—but there is no way to know this. You need a hospital either way!

If you are in the wild, which you probably are, immobilize the bitten area. Go slowly toward a vehicle. Keep the heart rate low if you can.

What about the other approaches? Ice can cause another injury—frostbite. Tourniquets can be too tight and concentrate the poison and make it worse. Suctioning—the sucking deal—is ineffective because the venom is probably too deep. This can also introduce bacteria.

Hospital! And hope Dr Bush is on call.

PS A visiting Norwegian guy got a snakebite and his hospital bill was $147,000. Just thought I would add that. Maybe a nice movie instead of a hike?

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