Watch Out for Rattlesnakes as Summer Heats Up
Thursday, July 07, 2011

As the weather warms, heat seeking creatures like rattlesnakes are more likely to be out in force. This doesn’t mean citizens should avoid the outdoors, but rather that campers and hikers should be extra careful and vigilant.

Rattlesnake bites are uncommon, but can occur. Most bites occur when the snake is startled and hasn’t had a chance to slither away. Be particularly careful in areas with high grass and around wood piles, logs and rocks where a snake may be warming itself. Avoid wearing sandals or walking barefoot.

In addition, educate your children on rattlesnakes. Make sure they never reach into dark places or a hole where a rattler may be curled up. Rattlers can swim, so be sure to be vigilant in the water as well.

If you are bitten, foremost, stay calm. Get to a doctor as soon as possible. Children especially need quick medical attention. If a doctor is more than 30 minutes away, elevate the bite, keeping the bitten limb lower than the heart. Gently wash the area with soap and water. Remove any accessories such as watches or jewelry that will constrict swelling. Though you’ve seen it in the movies, do not cut across the bite and suck.

Most importantly, wherever you go, know the area you’re headed into. You can’t always count on cell phone service, so be aware of the location of the nearest medical facility. Also, always be sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back.

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