If one is going to get bitten by a snake, it is important to know the best way to go about it.
According to several studies, over 8,000 venomous snake bites are reported each year in the United States. Of those, rattlesnakes cause two-thirds of all venomous bites.
These same studies show that in the U.S., snakes kill an average of five to eight people per year, with rattlesnakes being responsible for most deaths.
Notes on how to get bit:
1. Are you a male? Males are more commonly bitten than females. National studies show a nine to one male to female ratio.
2. Are you between the age of 18 and 28? Fifty percent of all bites occur in this age group according to data collected by the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
3. Do you handle poisonous snakes? According to the UTMC, over 60 percent of all snakebites in the U.S. come from snakes kept as pets and from people handling snakes. Of that number, numerous studies show that most victims are young males, of whom more than 50% are intoxicated and deliberately handling or molesting the snake.
4. Do you jump over logs and rocks, stick your hands into holes in the ground, and generally act in a careless manner while hiking, camping, fishing or hunting?
To sum it all up, if you are bound and determined to get bitten by a snake, become intoxicated and play with, pick up, tease or provoke a venomous snake. Or, if you don't have a "pet" snake to provoke, head on out to your nearest woodlot and start rummaging around until you find one.
In case you change your mind
If you are not interested in being bitten. Here are a few precautions.
1. Watch where you put your hands and feet. Whenever your are in snake country, don't put your hands or feet anywhere you haven't checked out first, and never put them in places where you can't look.
2. Don't stick your hands into holes in trees or in the ground.
3. When walking through grass or bushes, make noise and keep a sharp lookout.
4. Don't wander around in the dark, especially without a flashlight. Most venomous snakes are nocturnal, especially during the heat of the summer.
5. Don't handle venomous snakes, dead or alive.
When you are bitten:
1. Move away from the snake. Don't try to catch it or kill it. Trying to catch it will just get you bitten again.
2. Stay calm. Up to half the time the snake will not release any venom, and all you will have is a couple of puncture wounds.
3. Remove any rings, watches or bracelets (in case swelling occurs).
4. Get to a doctor as quickly as possible. The first six to eight hours after the bite are most critical.
1. Do not cut the wound open or use suction to try to remove the poison.
2. Do not apply ice or immerse the wound in ice water.
3. Do not eat or drink, especially alcohol.
4. Avoid as much physical activity as possible (besides getting to the doctor).
5. Do not apply a tourniquet.
6. Do not give electrical shock therapy, it does not work.
7. Do not panic.
What to expect when you are bitten:
1. Severe pain, almost immediately after the bite occurs.
2. Severe swelling in the area of the bite which may spread and become massive.
3. Weakness, sweating, chills, numbness, nausea and vomiting.
4. Respiratory depression.
5. Rupturing of blood vessels and bleeding in the area of the wound.
The Good News
You probably won't die if you are bitten. Less than one out of one thousand people who are bitten die. A large amount of local tissue destruction and disfigurement can occur if the bite isn't treated quickly or properly, and it will probably hurt like crazy. Nevertheless, eventually you will heal.
Don't play with poisonous snakes, sober or drunk, and watch where you place your arms and feet when you are hiking or camping. Snakes don't want to bite you any more than you want to be bitten.
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