According to government statistics, about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States each year, resulting in 10 to 15 deaths. While odds are you will not be bitten by a rattlesnake, it could happen, so here’s what you need to do, and what you don’t want to do.
–Stay calm as you can
–Wash the bite area gently with soap and water if available
–Remove watches, rings, etc., which may constrict swelling
–Immobilize the affected area
–Keep the bite below the heart if possible
–Transport the bite victim to the nearest medical facility immediately. If a doctor is more than 30 minutes away, keep the bite below the heart, and get there quick as you can.
–Do not make incisions over the bite wound.
–Do not restrict blood flow by applying a tourniquet.
–Do not ice the wound.
–Do not try to suck the poison out with your mouth.
*According to the USDA paper on Snake Safety, these methods can cause additional harm; most amputations or other serious results of a rattlesnake bite are a result of icing or applying a tourniquet.