STEPS TO SNAKE SAFETY ARE SIMPLE
summer you can be certain that no matter where you go outside, snakes
are close at hand. The good news is that even with a snake close at
hand, the odds of a happy ending are significantly in your favor. Despite
the mystique surrounding snakes, an encounter that ends badly can usually
be avoided with a little common sense.
can be found almost anywhere in the country. Most northern states have
fewer than two dozen kinds of snakes. Many southern states have more
than 40, including six venomous ones. Help alleviate your snake anxiety
by understanding just how unlikely you are to receive a life-threatening
of encountering a snake
of even seeing a snake are generally low, not because snakes are not
around but because they do not want to be seen by people. When you are
in the woods, far more snakes will be aware of your presence than you
will ever see.
of the snake being venomous
America, harmless species always outnumber venomous ones. You are unlikely
to encounter one of the pit vipers or coral snakes.
of being bitten by a venomous snake
other wildlife, snakes generally want nothing to do with humans and
will quickly retreat if allowed to do so. Many, if not most, venomous
snakebites in America occur after the victim has seen the snake and
taken action of some sort, such as trying to kill it or pick it up.
Don't blame the snake for that. You are in far greater peril of being
attacked by a dog, falling from a horse or injuring yourself with a
of a serious bite
safety precautions, your odds of encountering and then receiving a fatal
snakebite are astonishingly low, but one of the least predictable features
of venomous snakebite is quickly evaluating the seriousness of a bite.
With more than half of U.S. snakebites, little or no venom is injected,
causing only temporary discomfort to the victim. Such cases may not
be serious even without treatment; nonetheless, medical attention should
be sought immediately.
of receiving improper treatment
proper treatment for venomous snakebites in advance is like advising
what the best treatment should be for a future vehicle accident. It
all depends on the circumstances.
of either unfortunate event may suffer minor problems and not need medical
care. But seemingly uninjured travelers involved in a car wreck are
often taken to a hospital as a precaution. Likewise, venomous snakebite
victims, even those initially exhibiting no pain or discomfort, should
receive medical evaluation.
actions following a snakebite are second nature. Get the victim and
everyone else away from the snake. It is not necessary to have the specimen
to get medical treatment, so do not try to kill the snake or pick it
any rings, watches and footwear from the patient where swelling might
occur. Keep the person who has been bitten calm, and treat them for
emergency treatment quickly and safely is imperative if obvious swelling
is apparent and the victim is in intense pain.
classic first-aid procedures of cutting at the site of the wound and
using a tourniquet are no longer recommended by most medical authorities.
wisdom is to get the victim to a medical facility as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, modern understanding and treatment of snakebite far exceeds
that of previous generations, so the odds of serious consequences are
have the doctor call the state poison control center, which will
be knowledgeable about snakebite treatment.
face of technology and its myriad distractions, getting people to appreciate
the outdoors is getting harder every year.
add an unnecessary psychological barrier to the process by making people
afraid of a fascinating part of the natural world.
yourself and others about snakes. Then get outside and enjoy nature.
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