A snake bite is a rare threat to the outdoor enthusiast but
that doesn't keep it from being a main source of fear for some people.
There are two families of venomous snakes indigenous to North
America, the pit vipers and Elapidae
As rare as venomous snake bites are though there are still
about 7,000 reported bites in the United States each year. The good news
is 3,000 of those bites are due to people
handling or molesting the snakes. One
less episode of 'Croc Hunter' and they would be fine. Of all of the snake
bites in the USA only about 15 deaths per year are a result of a venomous
snake bite. However, there are other related injuries such as limb loss, loss
Members of the pit viper family include
rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths.
Obviously avoiding snake bites in the first place should be a high
priority. As noted above almost 1/2 of all venomous snake bites in the US
happen when people are handling, molesting, or trying to catch or kill a
snake. In other words your at 42% less risk of being bitten if you just
leave the snake alone. About 10-15% of snake bites are from snakes that
were presumed dead, even a snakes severed head can bite you. When you see a snake give it plenty of room, make
other people around you aware of it's position and continue on your way.
Your best defense is to be aware of your surroundings and watch your step.
If you live in an area where snakes are common keep your shrubs trimmed up
off of the ground and avoid going barefoot. When hiking, walking or working
be aware of where you place your feet.
85% of unmolested snake bites happen below the knee. Wearing boots
will go a long ways towards protecting you from the pain of a venomous snake bite.
In most cases a quality leather boot is fine but for those living and
playing deeper in
snake country, snake boots or chaps are a good option if only for the extra
peace of mind.
If you are bitten by a snake, remain calm, snake bites are rarely
fatal. If you are sure the snake was venomous seek immediate medical
attention. If possible call 911 or the medical facility where you will
seek treatment and let them know you are coming.
Keep the bite immobilized and below the level of your heart.
|Related Links and Resources
for Disease Control