What to do when a snake bites you on a remote trail?

25 May 2016 11:43 #1 by MountainTownAlerts
2-year-old bit by rattlesnake in Roxborough State Park
Jessica Oh, KUSA
5:38 PM. MDT May 23, 2016

LITTLETON - A family in Highlands Ranch has a warning for parents after a toddler was bitten by a rattlesnake at Roxborough State Park recently.

Maggie was running around near the visitor center when Browning says he heard her scream, followed by a rattle. "She wasn't off wandering on her own and we were all very close," Browning said.

After hearing his daughter yell, Browning says he saw the rattlesnake, which had been coiled and sleeping by the trail.

Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife say Coloradans should be extra vigilant when it comes to rattlesnakes this season. This is partially due to the fact that rattlesnakes have recently come out of hibernation, but experts say they've noticed an increased presence of the venemous snakes in Colorado, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife Manager Justin Olson.

What to do when a snake bites you on a remote trail?
July 22, 2014

In the past few years of hiking and running trails, I’ve encountered about 10 snakes, including a few poisonous rattlesnakes. I run a lot of trails solo in the middle of nowhere, so I wanted to figure out exactly what to do if a snake bites me on a remote trail?

Photo by Jimmy Dean Freeman

Below is a summary of things I’ve learned about first aid for snake bites after talking to the Snake Bite Poison Line (1-800-222-1222 available 24/7), after doing my own online research and after posting my snake questions on Reddit Running. The best info came from Jordan Benjamin, a herpetologist specialized in venomous snakes. I’m just sharing this info because it might help you one day:

• No first aid is much better than performing bad first aid.
• All Snake Bite Kits are dangerous and should not be used.
• Don't panic. Stay calm.
• Find a safe place to sit down asap.
• Remove any rings, watches, tight clothing and anything else from the bitten limb, because the swelling will make it a lot bigger soon.
• Take 5 minutes to calm down and plan your evacuation. The only effective treatment for a snake envenomation is the right anti-venom to neutralize it.
• Do not wait for symptoms to appear if bitten.
• A sharpie can be a great help for emergency personnel to assess the severity of your snakebite. Circle the location of your snake bite and write down the time next to it.
• Update this info every 15 or 30 minutes as the swelling moves up the limb and your symptoms develop.
• Make contact via cell phone. If this is not possible, walk slowly to get help. Drink some water and take some calories if you have any.

Preventing a snake bite is obviously better than dealing with a snake bite. Here are a few ways to reduce the risks of snake bites while trail running: see article for more

Things to bring on your trail runs that help with a snake bite:
• Phone
• Sharpie

Getting bitten by a snake can be deadly, especially if you’re on your own on a remote trail. The following story is a good explanation of how a snake bite would feel: I Should Be Dead. Each year, about 8,000 venomous snake bites occur in the US and about 5 of those people die. You’ve got a good chance of survival if you seek medical attention immediately.

To summarize: try to stay calm, sit down, remove anything tight, document your situation, contact help.


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02 Jun 2019 19:11 #2 by ScienceChic
We've had a very wet winter, please be careful while out on the trails - some snakes are mating this time of year. Pay attention to your surroundings, keep at least one earbud out, pets on leashes, and don't go off trail or try to pet the pretty snakes (or get a selfie with them, they're camera shy). If you do get bitten remain calm, and if you don't have cell phone service, walk back to the trailhead.

When it rains, snake bites soar
Sept. 5, 2018 • By Daniel Strain

Hikers and trail runners be warned: Rattlesnakes and other venomous reptiles may bite more people during rainy years than in seasons wracked by drought, a new study shows.

The research, which was led by Caleb Phillips of CU Boulder and Grant Lipman of the Stanford University School of Medicine, examined 20 years of snake bite data from across California. Their findings contradict a popular theory among many wilderness health professionals that drought might increase snake bites by pushing the reptiles out into the open where they are more likely to run into people.

Instead, the group discovered that for every 10 percent increase in rainfall over the previous 18 months, cases of snake bites spiked by 3.9 percent in California’s 58 counties.

Phillips said that he’d be eager to find out if the same trends appear outside of California. Colorado is home to three closely-related species of venomous reptiles: prairie, western and massasauga rattlesnakes.

CDC - How to Prevent or Respond to a Snake Bite
What TO DO if You or Someone Else is Bitten by a Snake
  • If you or someone you know are bitten, try to see and remember the color and shape of the snake, which can help with treatment of the snake bite.
  • Keep the bitten person still and calm. This can slow down the spread of venom if the snake is venomous.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Dial 911 or call local Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
  • Apply first aid if you cannot get the person to the hospital right away.
  • Lay or sit the person down with the bite below the level of the heart.
  • Tell him/her to stay calm and still.
  • Wash the wound with warm soapy water immediately.
  • Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.
What NOT TO DO if You or Someone Else is Bitten by a Snake
  • Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it (this may put you or someone else at risk for a bite).
  • Do not apply a tourniquet.
  • Do not slash the wound with a knife.
  • Do not suck out the venom.
  • Do not apply ice or immerse the wound in water.
  • Do not drink alcohol as a pain killer.
  • Do not drink caffeinated beverages.

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

Your scars exist, but it’s your courage that defines you. ~Nalini Singh

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