Have Medical Questions? Ask a Doctor Online!
The views expressed by me are for educational purposes only and do not establish a doctor patient relationship.
I am Mysticdoc, experienced Internal Medicine Specialist.
I am here to help you with your concerns.
yesterday I was nearly bitten by a timber rattlesnake. I was alone in the woods, a one hour hike from my car and then an additional one hour drive from the nearest hospital. Had I been bitten, what should I have done?
not all rattle snakes are venomous.
Nonvenomous snake has rounded head, round pupil and lacks fangs.
After the bite, you should avoid moving your affected arm or leg.
It is better to keep your arm down the heart level to prevent any venom absorption.
clean the wound with soap and water or just water whichever available.
do not apply tourniquet or pressure to reduce blood flow --against current recommendation.
Then you should call 911 for urgent evaluation in the ER.
No cell reception where I was.
I would have had to stay put until the venom wore off (or I died) or hike for an hour.
in that case, you should watch out for any systemic toxicity like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, numbness, mental confusion.
Otherwise, you should try to walk back to nearest locality as soon as possible.
it is better to look for the snake feature to determine if it is venomous or not.
However, after bite you should get out of the snake area as fast as possible.
In case of nonvenomous bite, it is not life threatening.
Even if it is venomous bite, you should still be able to withstand the venom effect couple of hours to get medical attention.
Ok, good to know, especially since I probably would have stayed put. Now I'll know what to do it I ever do get bit. Thanks.