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Life saving information if you trail ride!

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Metrodps, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Metrodps

    Metrodps Strange but nice guy Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    Do you know what to do if you or someone else gets bitten by a snake?

    I am organizing the Full Size 4 x 4 outing at Rausch Creek Off-Road Park in Pennsylvania on July 13 - 15, 2007 and the topic of snakes and snake bites came up. I dusted off my first responder training and have put it to use here. The most important is listed in this first section.

    Most medical experts agree that traditional field treatments such as tourniquets, pressure dressing, ice packs, and "cut and suck" snakebite kits are generally ineffective and are possibly dangerous. Poisonous snakebite is one of those conditions that you cannot treat in the field. Don't waste valuable time trying.

    If someone is bitten use the following treatment protocol.
    1.) Transport the patient as quickly as possible to antivenin (antidote). Although local discomfort may be severe, systemic signs and symptoms maybe delayed for two to six hours following the bite. Walking the patient out is reasonably safe unless severe signs and symptoms occur. It is also significantly faster than trying a carry. Splint the affected part if possible.

    2.) Expect swelling. Remove constricting items such as rings, bracelets, and clothing from the bitten extremity.

    3.) Do not delay. Immediately following the bite of a snake thought to be poisonous, evacuation of the patient should be started. It can always be slowed down or canceled if it becomes obvious that envenomation did not occur, or the snake is not poisonous.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now for more detailed information read on it just might save your life or someone else's.
    I knew my first responder classes would be used some day but not like this.

    Snakebites
    I will attempt to describe prevention and treatment of bites by poisonous snakes in the U.S. as well as the effects of such bites. Be aware that we are dealing with overreaction and hype here. Snakebite, while serious, is not the death sentence often implied. Snakes, poisonous and otherwise, have excited a lot of aversion and superstition over the ages, resulting in unwarranted fear and sometimes even panic.

    This fear and panic can lead to:
    Improper treatment of those cases which need treatment for envenomation.
    Dangerous over treatment for bites in which envenomation does not occur.
    Worsening the outcome of snakebites due to panic.
    Unnecessary and dangerous treatment of bites by nonvenomous snakes.
    Unnecessary destruction of snakes and their habitat.

    Snakebite in the U.S. should be treated conservatively. There is no need to jump in with knives, tourniquets, ice, or compression bandages. There is no need to try to suck out the venom by mouth. Carrying out any of these extreme procedures has the potential to do far more harm than good. I will explain later the reasons that such extreme measures should not be used. The victim should be given only the appropriate treatment and then be rapidly evacuated to medical facilities.

    Various snakes and their effects found in our area of the country include copperhead, cottonmouth (water moccasin) and the numerous species of rattlesnakes these are known as Crotalids (pit vipers).

    Types of Snakes
    Crotalids have the most efficient injection mechanism of any snake. They are equipped with long hollow fangs and a system to inject venom through them. They have the ability to inject large volumes of venom quickly. Their fangs can fold back into the mouth; lack of visible fangs does not necessarily mean an unarmed snake. They are the most dangerous group because (a) they are more likely to bite a human, (b) they can inject venom much more efficiently, and (c) they are usually larger and have more venom to use.

    The Venom
    Snake venom usually contains two types of poison: hemolytic toxins which attack the walls of blood vessels and neurotoxins which attack the nerves.

    Hemolytic toxin attacks blood vessel walls, allows serum to escape into the surrounding tissues, and causes clotting within the vessels. The result is severe swelling, pain, and discoloration at the site of the bite. In the few cases where hemolytic toxins cause death, the actual cause is likely to be shock. The effects of hemolytic toxin are immediate and primarily localized. Symptoms will be obvious.

    Neurotoxins produce much less obvious immediate symptoms, at times fooling the victim into believing envenomation has not occurred. But systemic symptoms can appear later. Neurotoxins produce much less local reaction than do hemolytic toxins. On the other hand, they can affect nerves quite removed from the site of the bite. In extreme cases they can cause respiratory arrest, although this is uncommon with the bites from most North American snakes. However, respiratory distress without actual arrest may to occur in neurotoxin victims. Less severe symptoms from neurotoxins include tingling or prickly feelings and eyelid paralysis.

    Most pit vipers have a higher fraction of hemolytic toxin, and elapids have more neurotoxin. The potency of venom will vary, with species, with time of year and with geographic area. It is worth mentioning that bites from other North American venomous snakes may yield little local pain, swelling, or other reaction following envenomation. It is probably best to assume that you have been envenomated and proceed to a hospital.

    Envenomated bites from either the diamondback or the Mojave rattler are serious, possibly even deadly. Do your level best to evacuate the victim quickly to medical facilities.

    Rule One: Leave snakes alone. There is no reliable rule to distinguish which snakes are venomous and which are not. Characteristics vary greatly depending on locale and occasional individuals have atypical coloration or pattern.

    Rule Two: See rule one or you could DIE!

    Copperhead
    Description: 22-52 inches. Stout-bodied; copper, orange, or pink-tinged, with bold chestnut or reddish-brown cross bands constricted on midline of back. Top of head unmarked. Facial pit between eye and nostril. Scales weakly keeled, in 23-25 rows. Anal plate single.

    Habitat: Wooded hillsides with rock outcrops above streams or ponds; edges of swamps and periodically flooded areas in coastal plain; near canyon springs and dense cane stands along the Rio Grande; sea level to 5000 feet.

    Range: SW. Massachusetts west to extreme SE. Nebraska south to Florida panhandle and SC. and West to Texas.

    It basks during the day in spring and fall, becoming nocturnal as the days grow warmer. Favored summer retreats are stone walls, piles of debris near abandoned farms, sawdust heaps, and rotting logs, and large flat stones near streams.... In fall, copperheads return to their den site, often a rock outcrop on a hillside with a southern or eastern exposure."


    Cottonmouth / Water Moccasin
    Description: 20-74 inches. A dark, heavy-bodied water snake; broad-based head is noticeably wider than neck. Olive, brown or black above; pattern less or with serrated-edged dark cross bands. Wide light-bordered, dark brown cheek stripe distinct, obscure, or absent. Head flat-topped; eyes with vertical pupils (not visible from directly above as are eyes of harmless water snakes); facial pit between eye and nostril. Young strongly patterned and bear bright yellow tipped tails. Scales keeled, in 25 rows.

    Habitat: Lowland swamps, lakes, rivers, bay heads, sloughs, irrigation ditches, canals, rice fields, to small clear rocky mountain streams; sea level to ca. 1500 feet.

    Range: SE. Virginia south to upper Florida Keys, west to southern. Illinois, southern Missouri, SC. Oklahoma and central. Texas. Isolated population in NC. Missouri.

    When annoyed, the cottonmouth tends to stand its ground and may gape repeatedly at an intruder, exposing the light cotton lining of its mouth. Also called trap jaw or water moccasin. Unlike other water snakes, it swims with head well out of water. Although it may be observed basking during the day, it is more active at night. Preys on sirens, frogs, fishes, snakes, and birds.

    Speckled Rattlesnake
    Description: 23-52 inches. Pattern and color vary greatly; generally has a sandy, speckled appearance. Back marked with muted cross bands or hexagonal to diamond shaped blotches formed by small clusters of dots. Large scale above eye pitted, creased, or rough-edged; or rostral scale separated from pre-anals by row of tiny scales. Scales keeled, in 23-27 rows.

    Habitat: Prefers rugged, rocky terrain, rock outcrops, deep canyons, talus, chaparral amid rock piles and boulders, rocky foothills; sea level to 8000 feet.

    Range: Extreme SW. Utah, southern Nevada and southern California south into NW. Sonora and throughout Baja California.

    Active during the day in spring and fall, at night in summer. Eats ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, white-footed mice, birds, and lizards.
     
  2. badmix

    badmix 1/2 ton status

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    Yip. I do alot of backpacking and camping. We've disregarded our snake bite kits long time ago. You can do more damage than good and like what was posted , waste valuable time. Keep the person calm is a big key. The more frantic they become they more they move around and get their blood pressure up, all this does is worsen the condition.
     
  3. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    And that is why we should band together as Americans and pray to God to eradicate the evil devils off the face of the planet:D
     
  4. Zopilote

    Zopilote Registered Member

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    The old methods of treating snakebite were tossed more than 20 years ago. Less than 10 people die of envenomation a year in the US. Much ado about nothing.
     
  5. mrmojo32

    mrmojo32 Registered Member

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    Swamp

    I am from Louisiana and am an avid hunter and fisherman and pretty much live in the swamps and woods and have never been bitten. As luck would have it a friend of mine who barley leaves his couch went outside and was messing around a wood pile in his back yard and got bit by a Copperhead. When I saw his hand before he went to the hospital it looked like a base ball glove.

    I would say yes..... go to the hospital! :D
     
  6. txfiremank5

    txfiremank5 1/2 ton status

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    If I was going to add something, it would be to keep the bite area below the level of the heart if possible. Easy enough to do, of course, if bitten on the leg, but people bitten on the arm/hand tend to hold it upward (cradeled) against their chest, & supported by their other arm/hand vs down at their side.
     
  7. Metrodps

    Metrodps Strange but nice guy Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    I could post a sarcastic response but won't! :doah:
    While there are about 8,000 venomous snake bites reported each year in the U.S., no more than 12 deaths were reported each year from 1960-1990 as a result of poisonous snake bites. (MebMD)

    If one of the people with you got bitten would you know what to do? :confused: That was the post; so if say your child or friend was out with you and they got bitten a person would know what to do.

    This is like a fire extinguisher! Your truck doesn't catch fire every day but when it does it sure as heck is nice to have one. Just like insurance you hope you never need it but when you do your glade it is there.
     
  8. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    Kill the snake and stake it's head out in a field as an example to all other snakes:D

    Seriously, this stuff is good information cause a lot of people don't pay any attention to snakes. I saw probably my last rattler of the year last night right after I ran the thing over. For those of us that work in snake country, and myself, during the warm months, most of the time when I make a traffic stop, rattlers are just another thing I have to be leery of.............:D
     
  9. 78Suburban

    78Suburban 1/2 ton status

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    I just wear rocky snake boots.. they're water proof too :D
     
  10. 79Beast

    79Beast 1/2 ton status

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    Don't suck the venom out. Ever wonder why? It won't make much difference to the victom, but it will sure rot you teeth out.
     
  11. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    And now I have another reason to always have a cell phone handy.
     
  12. Myke

    Myke Registered Member

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  13. hack500

    hack500 1/2 ton status

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    from personal experience, cotton mouth snakes hurt like a mofugger when they bite ya but don't always inject toxin.

    btw, even though this is some vital info. it seems more like lounge material.
     
  14. sledheadak

    sledheadak 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    best way to avoid a snake bite is to not live where they are..i would hate to wheel where there are snakes.i would never get out of the truck once it left the road.lol
     
  15. blazinzuk

    blazinzuk Buzzbox voodoo Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I am pretty much with Bubba on this one. As an aside I got bit by a rattle snake once, scared the holy living crap out of me, kind of freaked out didn't watch where I was going and fell down a 10 ft cliff spraining both ankles. The snake did not inject poisen. If I had kept my witts about I would have been no worse for the wear except for a bit of swelling where the snake bit me
     
  16. MojaveK5

    MojaveK5 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I just stumbled on this thread and It is almost snake season. This is what we
    got in the desert.

    Mojave green:
    [​IMG]

    I have lived in the desert most of my life and do not see them often.
    This is good info to have just in case.
     
  17. velojym

    velojym Registered Member

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    I grew up in east-central New Mexico, and while we stayed wary on our outback jaunts (fortunately, it's an open carry state), with my Ruger revolver
    loaded with snakeshot in the first two chambers. I spotted a few, but was never threatened, so that ammo eventually was used to shred paper.

    When I moved to Alabama, I lived in a trailer with a nifty little catfish pond out back. It was great until suddenly it was infested with water mocc's. As
    this was also a swimmin' hold for a bunch of nearby kids, one of my neighbors and I spent a few weeks out there with our .22 rifles. After we were through, we never saw another snake in that pond while I lived there.
    Sorry... I know it may offend snake-huggers, but I'm one of those freaky humanists who value people more than critters.
    Oh, them mocc's were pretty easy to hit, too. One tried to strike at the muzzle of my 10/22... but it struck back.
     
  18. chalet2506

    chalet2506 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I've stepped onto or within 12 inches of poisonous snakes 4 times that I can count. 3 rattlesnakes and one copperhead. 3 times while out hunting, once in the backyard. Haven't been bitten yet, but I'm generally within 30 minutes of a hospital. I see them more often than that, but generally leave them alone. Something's got to eat the rats.
     

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