Aletha forwarded an excellent article on rattlesnake bites by, of all organizations, REI. The big take-aways are that if you avoid snakes, you’re unlikely to get bitten, and if you do, you’re unlikely to die.
Salient reassuring points:
- Of the thousands of rattlesnake bite victims each year, only 6 to 10 people die.
- Experts estimate your worst-case scenario chance of dying from a rattlesnake bite in the wilderness is about 1 in 10 million.
- Lightning kills more people in the United States than snakes do.
- The vast majority of bite victims are drunks intentionally handling snakes found in back yards!
The article stresses that the single most important thing is to get medical care as rapidly as possible. It goes on to humorously debunk common myths about treatment. Example:
Bad idea: Apply electricity to the wound
Why it is bad: Come to my laboratory at WMI of NOLS headquarters for a personal demonstration. I will show you. Also, applying electricity is not the same thing as taking the patient to the hospital.