Friday, June 23, 2017

Snake Safety

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Now that summer is here, and reptiles are out and about, here are some snake bite procedures in a quick and easy format - from the South Dakota Reptile Garden web site:

"In the United States there are approximately 5,000 - 7,000 venomous snakebites every year. However, generally only 10 - 15 are fatal. In Australia, the country with the highest percentage of deadly snakes, just 3 to 4 people are killed by venomous snakes yearly. What to do if bitten:
  • DO Remain calm - death from most snake bites is not instantaneous.
  • DO IMMEDIATELY GO TO THE HOSPITAL! At the hospital, they will administer antivenom, if needed. Antivenom is the only effective treatment available for treating snakebites in the U.S.
  • DO Avoid anything that thins your blood or accelerates your heart rate: alcohol, cigarettes, aspirin, etc.
What NOT to do if bitten:

Do not attempt the following, they can cause harm and waste your valuable time getting snake bite treatment from a qualified medical professional:
  • DO NOT Use a tourniquet. A tourniquet is extremely painful and will cut blood flow to the wounded limb. This may cause the limb to die and require amputation.
  • DO NOT Cut X’s over the fang marks and suck out the venom. Snake venom spreads quickly and efficiently through the lymphatic system. It is almost impossible cut deep enough, quickly enough, or to suck hard enough to pull an adequate amount of venom out to make a difference.
  • DO NOT Apply ice to slow the spread of venom.
  • DO NOT “Electrocute” the bitten area to neutralize the venom.
These are all instances of improper snake bite treatment, will cause severe pain, permanent tissue damage, and possible amputation."
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From Scouting.org:

Great Basin Rattlesnake
The American Association of Poison Control Centers would like to offer its new poster on snake bite safety to Scouts and Scouters free of charge. A proof of the poster can be found here . The poster features information about what to do, and what not to do, in the event of a snake bite as well as information on how to identify venomous snakes. It also features a map of the United States that shows where venomous snakes live and information about the poison help line.

Poster Proof
The poster is 18 inches by 24 inches in size. If you would like to order posters, please email posters@aapcc.org with the number of posters you would like and your mailing information.

In the spirit of KNOW risk vs. NO risk, we can all take a tip from the Boy Scout Handbook: “Being able to identify venomous snakes is a good first step toward staying safe where they live. If you leave snakes alone, they are likely to avoid you, too. Use a hiking stick to poke among stones and brush ahead of you when you walk through areas where snakes are common. Be careful where you put your hands as you collect firewood or climb over rocks and logs.”

Prepared. | For Life.™

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