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Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake

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avatar What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 01, 2010 05:15PM
ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2010) — Should you be the victim of a snakebite, the best thing you can do is get to a hospital as quickly as possible, according to a new review article from the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS). Current medical treatments, including new medications and surgery, if necessary, are far more effective for snakebites than anything you can do on your own.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201142504.htm
Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 01, 2010 06:18PM
The best thing: get to know what the poisonous snakes look like in your area, so if you're bit by a gopher snake you don't panic and run up an ER bill needlessly. (Easy enough just to pick the teeth out and go on with life.)

I've actually talked to people who think there are coral snakes in California. Granted, the king snake looks a lot like one, but it's just a king snake....
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 01, 2010 06:30PM
Snakes can be hard to spot sometimes. I once almost stepped on a rattlesnake while coming down the Snow Creek trail. My foot landed about an inch from its head. It rattled and I suddenly found myself about 15' down the trail.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 01, 2010 09:59PM
I got bit once. After three days of intense pain and agony, the snake died.

I was leading a hike of about 20 people on a trail near Del Valle reservoir near Livermore. I was actually at the end of the line and called out for eveyrone to stop. Curled up next to a tree, about 5 inches off the trail, was a HUGE rattlesnake, (One of the ones in that area that have a green tinge to them.) All 20 had passed it without seeing it. They looked more carefully after that.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/01/2010 10:02PM by Dave.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 02, 2010 06:14AM
Those that haven't heard a rattlesnake rattle should pull up a Youtube video with audio to appreciate that the sound is less like a dry gourd rattle or baby toy rattle and more like a hissing sound.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 02, 2010 04:50PM
Quote
AlmostThere
I've actually talked to people who think there are coral snakes in California. Granted, the king snake looks a lot like one, but it's just a king snake....

This one could be mistaken too:

avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 02, 2010 05:08PM
Quote
eeek
Red touching yellow can kill a fellow.

There actually is one other venemous snake in California. I can't remember the name of it right now, but it is native to the San Francisco Peninsula. Before it became endangered (or because of it) they used to be kept as pets since they were very gentle, non aggressive, snakes. They have rear fangs and the posion isn't very potent.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 04:37AM
Quote
Dave


There actually is one other venemous snake in California. I can't remember the name of it right now, but it is native to the San Francisco Peninsula. Before it became endangered (or because of it) they used to be kept as pets since they were very gentle, non aggressive, snakes. They have rear fangs and the posion isn't very potent.

Perhaps this one?

Snake Info

or this one?

Baha Rear Fanged

Comparisons of front and rear fanged snakes:
PowerPoint File describing Snake Fangs



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2010 04:53AM by Frank Furter.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 08:10AM
Quote
Frank Furter
Perhaps this one?

Snake Info

or this one?

Baha Rear Fanged

The first one, the San Francisco Gartersnake. It's a very beautiful snake when it's just shed. I didn't know about that Baha Rear Fanged. That makes 3 posionous snakes in Calif. You only need to worry about one though.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 12:20PM
From the original article:
Quote

If you are bitten:

* Identify the type of snake if possible. If a smartphone or other camera is available, take a photo of the snake and bring it with you to the hospital.

Once you take the photo, surely there must be an I-phone ap for that identification! I wonder if there is a rattlesnake ringtone as well?



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 06:05PM
Quote
Frank Furter
I wonder if there is a rattlesnake ringtone as well?


I'm certain that there is/are.
I have a crow cawing ringtone... and he really starts to sound irritated after about 20 seconds.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 06:20PM
Here is a story about what NOT to do after a snake bite:

http://phoenix.about.com/cs/desert/a/snakebite.htm



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 08:02PM
I was told that even though it was a very large hospital, there were only one or two doses of anti-venom in stock.

Two doses? WTF? Is that just to hold you over until Fedex gets there?
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 04, 2010 06:57AM
Quote
eeek
I was told that even though it was a very large hospital, there were only one or two doses of anti-venom in stock.

Two doses? WTF? Is that just to hold you over until Fedex gets there?

Almost nothing about that guy's care should be taken to represent appropriate medical care for a rattlesnake bite. He is lucky that he did not lose his foot.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 04, 2010 02:02PM
The outcome for this guy would have been the same even if he did nothing. Many bites play themselves out without intervention.

What to do if two or three days from help while in the way-back country is still a mystery. The "get yourself to a hospital right away" as step one isn't an option.



Old Dude
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 04, 2010 03:32PM
Quote
mrcondron
What to do if two or three days from help while in the way-back country is still a mystery. The "get yourself to a hospital right away" as step one isn't an option.


The only possibly viable way that it could be considered an option is if one has a sat phone or a PLB and the powers-that-be are willing to send a Whirly Chicken to fly the person out.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/04/2010 05:08PM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 04, 2010 07:15PM
The backcountry response is a real quandary. Almost every intervention is marginally effective at best with more downside risk than benefit. The use of suction devices appears to be useless, but likely to have no deleterious effect. No one recommends incisions to the snakebite sites or tourniquets anymore. Ice and topical treatments are not helpful, may contaminate the wounds and the ice can cause additional tissue injury if the skin is frozen. Containing the rattlesnake toxin by a compressive wrap (such as the Sutherland Wrap) is controversial at best and would best only attempted by a trained medical person taking into consideration the unique circumstances of the specific event. The wrap has apparently proved useful against neurotoxins from snakes in Australia (elapids) but rattlesnake venom is more locally toxic and the wrap may delay systemic effect but may worsen the amount of local tissue damage. One interesting device used to surround the bite site locally may have some benefit to containing the toxin. I am not aware of any commercially available device.

Information on Locally Compressive Device

Travel Medicine

Medical Toxicology


Sutherland Wrap


General Snakebite Medical Information



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 04, 2010 07:34PM
Okay, so say one is out hiking alone and gets bit. What should one do?
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 04, 2010 07:44PM
That scenario is also presents a mystery. How far from your car do you need to be before it's too far to safely walk to it?

Of course there are so many back-packers one has to wonder what's one of them more or less.



Old Dude
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 04, 2010 07:47PM
Quote
mrcondron
That scenario is also presents a mystery. How far from your car do you need to be before it's too far to safely walk to it?

Of course there are so many back-packers one has to wonder what's one of them more or less.

Okay, saw you are about two days out on a backpack.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 04, 2010 08:03PM
I had in my head your previous post was referring to a day hike.
Hiking alone and two days out I would just pitch a quick camp and crawl into my bag and wait for the outcome. I think sitting still is better than trying to hike out. I would camp right on the trail and hope somebody would come by. It would still take a couple of days for help to arrive even then.



Old Dude
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 08:11AM
Quote
mrcondron
I had in my head your previous post was referring to a day hike.
Hiking alone and two days out I would just pitch a quick camp and crawl into my bag and wait for the outcome. I think sitting still is better than trying to hike out. I would camp right on the trail and hope somebody would come by. It would still take a couple of days for help to arrive even then.

Mike's suggestion is probably a good one. It's kind of a toss-up regarding sitting still-vs-activity required to reach help two days away. Or is it? Obviously, this is an arguement for not hiking alone. At least with a hiking partner you have somebody who could leave his/her pack with you and just take enough water and snacks for a forced march to get help.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 01:45PM
Quote
tomdisco
Obviously, this is an arguement for not hiking alone.

There are a lot of arguments for not hiking alone. I do it anyway.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 06, 2010 11:15AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
tomdisco
Obviously, this is an arguement for not hiking alone.

There are a lot of arguments for not hiking alone. I do it anyway.

Me too, with the exception of next August. I will have a hiking buddy for the overnight portions into the back country.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 09:01AM
Quote
eeek
Okay, so say one is out hiking alone and gets bit. What should one do?

It just isn't an easy question to answer and depends on many factors. Factors that come to mind that will tend to make snakebite outcome worse would include:
1. delay until care (walk out vs evacuation if available)
2. site on the body bitten (face is worse than extremity, I believe)
3. exercise or circulation of blood to area (walking out may worsen effects of leg bite, would need to immobilize if possible or be carried out preferably)
4. pre-existing medical illnesses (young healthy vs decrepit old dude)
5. associated other acute injuries (falls, burns, or fractures from reaction to snake bite or interventions by bystanders )
6. amount of venom injected (probably not measurable, except by observing reaction over time)

In a way, it is like having a heart attack--- rest is preferable but if it delaying initiation of care it can worsen outcome. Need to balance the benefit of rest against the delay in treatment. Most problems have a "golden interval" that would allow evacuation or escape, movement to a location that favors evacuation or signaling for help, or preparation for bivouac.

Scenario: Bite on leg while camping alone in Sierra incommunicado in a remote location

Probably most areas of the Sierra are within 5 miles of a trail junction or 10 miles of a trailhead. So the primary effort should be to signal for help or go for help if signaling (phone or other method) is not possible. If movement of the victim is necessary, I suppose that the movement/transport should occur early in the injury rather than later (in other words, better to attempt to walk out or walk to a more populated location early rather than waiting to decide how bad the bite will be or waiting an indeterminate interval to be found). I would try to minimize movement of the leg by using a splint or crutch and keep the leg a level of heart when resting but would attempt to get to a location where at least someone could go for additional help. If pain and swelling prevented movement, I would attempt to signal for help with fire/sound/ light as options exist and gather food, fuel, water, shelter and signaling resources for any long term bivouac plan.

Initially, I would clean the wound and apply dressing if available. If a prolonged delay in rescue is anticipated, then we would be talking least worst alternatives. Doing nothing except keeping bite area motionless at a level with the heart (neither elevated nor dependent) would probably be best for most people, although I have some ideas that I might personally try.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 07:35PM
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 07:39PM
That made my cat jump. Apparently she has met a rattlesnake.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 01:05PM
Quote
Dave
Quote
Frank Furter
Perhaps this one?

Snake Info

or this one?

Baha Rear Fanged

The first one, the San Francisco Gartersnake. It's a very beautiful snake when it's just shed. I didn't know about that Baha Rear Fanged. That makes 3 posionous snakes in Calif. You only need to worry about one though.

I've never heard of a San Francisco garter snake as being venomous. It's a garter snake, which aren't venomous. They're prized by collectors for their unique coloration.

Part of its range is the Sharp Park Golf Course south of San Francisco. There have been suggestions that the City and County of San Francisco hand the land over to the NPS to either operate the course or turn it into a preserve as part of Golden Gate NRA.

avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 01:20PM
Quote
y_p_w
Quote
Dave
Quote
Frank Furter
Perhaps this one?

Snake Info

or this one?

Baha Rear Fanged

The first one, the San Francisco Gartersnake. It's a very beautiful snake when it's just shed. I didn't know about that Baha Rear Fanged. That makes 3 posionous snakes in Calif. You only need to worry about one though.

I've never heard of a San Francisco garter snake as being venomous. It's a garter snake, which aren't venomous. They're prized by collectors for their unique coloration.


A quick search found some information in a Wikipedia article.
( See the section entitled "Venom" )
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garter_snake


[Fixed link above.]



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2010 03:06PM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 02:20PM
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 03, 2010 03:56PM
Quote
y_p_w
Quote
Dave
Quote
Frank Furter
Perhaps this one?

Snake Info

or this one?

Baha Rear Fanged

The first one, the San Francisco Gartersnake. It's a very beautiful snake when it's just shed. I didn't know about that Baha Rear Fanged. That makes 3 posionous snakes in Calif. You only need to worry about one though.

I've never heard of a San Francisco garter snake as being venomous. It's a garter snake, which aren't venomous. They're prized by collectors for their unique coloration.
.

I always thought garter snakes were harmless (like a stink bug) as well, but apparently they produce some venom-like substance. It really depends on how you define "venomous". Apparently their saliva can cause minor reactions or injury under rare circumstances. (See the article that I referenced on the garter snake about 1/2 through the article). I guess that would be a venom, of sorts. They should certainly not be classified as dangerous as rattlesnakes or coral snakes. Envenomation is a range of effects. I understand tarantulas (which are usually thought to be harmless) produce a toxin, but it is rarely toxic to humans. Gila monsters, I believe, produce a toxic substance that must be forced into the victim by grinding of the jaws (another example of toxicity and venom but not as injurious as that of rattlesnakes) The articles by the herpetologist describe the degree of "toxicity" and the powerpoint reference is an interesting description of fang types.

As a curious aside, somewhere I stumbled on an article that suggested that the "rear" fangs were a prehistoric feature and presumably the front, hypodermic fangs are a more recent evolutionary feature.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 01, 2010 10:05PM
If I had a dolla for every time I heard "I almost stepped on a rattlesnake"....



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 02, 2010 09:13AM
Quote
chick-on
If I had a dolla for every time I heard "I almost stepped on a rattlesnake"....

That just shows the snake really isn't all that aggressive. Most of those that get bit are messing with the snake and it's just defending itself.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 08:33AM
Quote
Dave
Quote
chick-on
If I had a dolla for every time I heard "I almost stepped on a rattlesnake"....

That just shows the snake really isn't all that aggressive. Most of those that get bit are messing with the snake and it's just defending itself.

That was my point. You have to really try to get bit by a Pacific Rattlesnake. They don't want anything to do with you.
Thus my irritation when people start getting all worked up about them...

Probably the number of people bitten by rattlesnake in Yosemite equals the number of cougar attacks.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 08:54AM
Quote
chick-on
That was my point. You have to really try to get bit by a Pacific Rattlesnake. They don't want anything to do with you.
Thus my irritation when people start getting all worked up about them...

Probably the number of people bitten by rattlesnake in Yosemite equals the number of cougar attacks.
On the park radio I hear reports of rattlesnakes. I used to laugh but then I figured it's safer for the snake to have it moved out of a populated area than to leave it where idiots will try to kill it.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 09:01AM
Quote
Dave
Quote
chick-on
That was my point. You have to really try to get bit by a Pacific Rattlesnake. They don't want anything to do with you.
Thus my irritation when people start getting all worked up about them...

Probably the number of people bitten by rattlesnake in Yosemite equals the number of cougar attacks.
On the park radio I hear reports of rattlesnakes. I used to laugh but then I figured it's safer for the snake to have it moved out of a populated area than to leave it where idiots will try to kill it.

Yup. When we were walking thru LYV we saw a ranger moving a snake.
Asked him, "can we watch?" He said "no problem"... after which, of course,
Billy got yelled at for his insistence at taking a picture. (he got yelled at
by the misses... not the ranger... the ranger had no issue with it)



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 09:19AM
Quote
chick-on
Quote
Dave
Quote
chick-on
If I had a dolla for every time I heard "I almost stepped on a rattlesnake"....

That just shows the snake really isn't all that aggressive. Most of those that get bit are messing with the snake and it's just defending itself.

That was my point. You have to really try to get bit by a Pacific Rattlesnake. They don't want anything to do with you.
Thus my irritation when people start getting all worked up about them...

Probably the number of people bitten by rattlesnake in Yosemite equals the number of cougar attacks.


Topping my list of undesirable/dangerous critter encounters would undoubtedly be the Wacko NRA GunNut.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 09:45AM
Quote
szalkowski
Topping my list of undesirable/dangerous critter encounters would undoubtedly be the Wacko NRA GunNut.

My narcissistic need to conveniently indulge my paranoia, fantasy, or arrogance trumps your resentment that you must be wary about one of the 30 million people in this country with psychiatric, pharmacologic, or sociopathic problems having one or more of the 300 million guns near you or your family.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 12:44PM
Quote
szalkowski
Topping my list of undesirable/dangerous critter encounters would undoubtedly be the Wacko NRA GunNut.
Why does every topic have to come around to Palin?
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 12:48PM
Because she's Hot!!



Old Dude
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 01:50PM
Quote
mrcondron
Because she's Hot!!

no, stop, enough!
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 03:49PM
Quote
mrcondron
Because she's Hot!!
Take off those beer goggles.
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 04:23PM
OK, OK. Well at least she's hotter than Hillary.



Old Dude
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 05:03PM
Quote
mrcondron
Because she's Hot!!


I think "Half-Baked" is the term that you wanted to use..
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 07, 2010 07:09AM
Quote
szalkowski
Topping my list of undesirable/dangerous critter encounters would undoubtedly be the Wacko NRA GunNut.

Bingo.

Related article here posted by KenS (thanks Ken):
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,30287,30290#msg-30290

The line in there by the ranger saying "I know everyone I come across has a gun" ... geez.
Every time someone asks me if I carry a gun into the wilderness all I wanna do is
smack them up.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 01:48PM
Quote
chick-on
Probably the number of people bitten by rattlesnake in Yosemite equals the number of cougar attacks.

Note quite: http://www.rattlesnakebite.org/
avatar Re: What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Snake
December 05, 2010 05:09PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
chick-on
Probably the number of people bitten by rattlesnake in Yosemite equals the number of cougar attacks.

Note quite: http://www.rattlesnakebite.org/

a) "I was located on a trail in a hiking area near Yosemite National Park, California." (i.e. it wasn't IN Yosemite)
b) I'm a very skeptical bird... I don't believe everything on the Internet
c) Sarah IS hot wink ... Chickon Boo likey
d) You CAN see Half Dome from Turlock
e) I knew this guy who knew this guy who say this guy who said he knew a guy ... and here's his story...

With all respect... I think there is plenty of that story that is missing.

(feel free to email the owner of the website if u wish.. and have them respond)

My big "wah wah wah wah" is that I really don't like the all snakes are bad mantra.
They gonna get you. They coming for you.
The Snake roundups that they are still doing nowadays is a travesty.



Chick-on is looking at you!
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