Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Don't scream--this is about snakes

What's that WHIRRING sound?
Yes, it's summer--you are outside--snakes are out of their dens. In fact, you are in their habitat. Do the math.

My own daughter announced the other day that she and a friend had been in the hills of AZ the evening before and saw a rattlesnake. EEEK.

She hastened to say it was a "small one." Well, I  know from watching interminable hospital and vet shows, that small does not mean lacking in venom.

Snake venom can spread through the tissues quickly and blacken and kill them. If this gets extreme, it can kill you.

If you reach down into grass--or a boot in your tent--or someplace with bad visibility--and you feel a sharp pain...It could be a snakebite.

Do this:

--Grab your cellphone, your most important first aid tool. Call 9-1-1.

--Do not try to grab or capture the snake--it could bite again.

--Do not take the snake to the ER. Take a picture with your phone if you can do it safely.

--Stay calm. Fewer than 10 people die of snakebites in the US each year.

At the ER, you may want antivenin--but not get it right away. For one thing, it's crazy expensive. The docs will monitor you for a while.

The snake might have given a dry bite--no venom. Or it might not even be a venomous snake.

If you start to have trouble breathing or rapid heartbeat, the doctors may intervene.

The best way to deal with snakes? Don't deal with them. Be alert, watch where you step,

But be aware--snakes can make a home in the brush in your backyard.

That happened when I was a kid--we had a big brush pile and the landscape guy and his sons would routinely clear out the copperheads.

Enough--just be OK.

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