As a pediatrician, I have not seen a lot of snake bites. Unfortunately, a recent experience taught me more than I ever needed or wanted to know.
A good friend (and very brave patient) was recently bitten by a rattlesnake in his backyard. His mom, Jennifer Kainen, wrote the following blog post to share Mikah’s story and teach others how to protect your family, what to do if you encounter a rattlesnake and actions to take if you or anyone in your family is bitten by this (often silent) killer.
Useful Tips Include:
What are some symptoms to look for if you suspect your child was bitten?
- A noticeable bite on the skin that may appear as a discolored area with two (but occasionally only one) puncture marks
- Pain and swelling in the area of the bite (swelling may take several hours to develop)
- Tissue damage, skin color change, or tingling
- Rapid pulse and labored breathing
- Progressive general weakness or tiredness
- Vision problems or eyelid drooping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drowsiness or unconsciousness
What should you do if someone is bitten?
- Call 911 from a land-line if possible.
- Try to limit the movement of the person who was bitten (e.g. don’t instruct them to get in the car).
- Don’t ice the wound or suck on it (you will not get the venom out).
- Try to avoid anything that gets the blood pumping (like panicking).
- If there is anything constricting, like a ring or watch, near the location of the bite remove it. Swelling will cause those accessories to become tourniquets.
Read Mikah’s story on surviving a rattlesnake bite and more about snake safety.