Rattlesnake bite treatment on the river - Page 4 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #31
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,264
good information...

Originally Posted by dsrtrat View Post
Lots of resources from these folks.


Learned some first aid information I had heard about before about marking the swelling progression. Good visual guide on how to do it.
For many years in First-Aid classes we were instructed to use the tourniquet and cut and suck procedure if a hospital was not readily available. In remote areas in the early days help and rescue was left up to you and your buddies, no sat-phones, cell phones, 911 was non existent, communication was very very slow. The calvary was not going to come charging to save you ass within hours or even days. I also thank the Medical Dr's on Mountain Buzz for sharing their hands on approach and advice offered to us free of charge, Steel Head fisherman still have to pay 50% though.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #32
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 296
I'm an old Boy Scout and outdoor man from years ago. I used to criticized people depending on their cell phones for rescue. Most of us now carry cell phones. I won't hesitate to call for help it is really needed. Technology is available and can be our friend. We're also often in the middle of nowhere so should be educated and self sufficient. Don't make the call until is truly needed, like a rattlesnake bite.

On a different but similar subject, as an old Boy Scout and outdoors man, I still think the ability to read a map and use a compass is way more important than having GPS.
When the river calls, the wise one listen.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #33
Fort Collins
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 249
So, when I brought up the Sawyer Extractor, I was thinking that its use in the first few moments, while calling the helicopter, and getting set up, might make some difference. I have fortunately not had to actually deal with a snake bite, and I get the seriousness of getting medical help pronto, but is there no place for them on a snake bite even while waiting for the helicopter to show up?

They are relatively cheap, and I have had success with it on other stuff, so if I were in the situation I'd probably give it a shot, thinking it isn't going to make the situation worse, as long as it doesn't delay the real help showing up.

And I guess I'll ask if anyone know how effective they are on scorpions stings? That was my initial thought when picking one up.

But honestly, the reduced irritation for myself and my kids from the common and frequent mosquito bites has made it worth carrying.
"If I'm not there, it means I'm dead...or late!" General W.R. Monger
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #34
Fort Collins
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 249
Guess I found the answer to my own question.


Thanks MountainBuzz for preventing me form doing something stupid.
"If I'm not there, it means I'm dead...or late!" General W.R. Monger
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #35
SLC, Utah
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 66
Great article. Thanks
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #36
Grass Valley, California
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 36
If a bite occurs:
Keep the person calm
Keep the bite location below the level of their heart
Apply a dry dressing bandage
Mark the area of the swelling with a pen to track the swelling
Apply an ice pack to help reduce pain and swelling
A constricting band can be applied above the bite sit- not a tourniquet- ( not totally proven to work).
Antihistamine may not help much- the venom from a rattlesnake is a neurotoxin, however the person may release histamines in response to the bite.
Get the patient to an emergency department as quickly as possible.

For dogs:
We took our dogs to a rattlesnake avoidance class. I thought it might be BS, but my wife wanted to try it. The course trains the dog to be afraid of the snake by; sight, smell and sound.
A few months after the training we were walking on a trail with them, and all of the sudden they both bolted back behind us. And sure enough about 25 feet ahead there was a rattlesnake on the trail..
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Old 1 Week Ago   #37
trevko's Avatar
Fort Fun, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 211
Originally Posted by Norcalcoastie View Post
Getting hoisted by your own? Been there, was glad for it These are some good thoughts out here. Iíd heard that snake bite kits, tourniquets and the such donít work. Iím happy to have my EPIRB (ACR PLB), but I know that helicopter rescues arenít easy or guaranteed. I wouldnít want to endanger a crew if there was another option.

Glad to hear the discussion yíall!
I hear ya and understand not wanting to put others at risk. In my time I've been in two air mishaps and have lost friends to mid-airs.

That being said, if it were on my trip I would make the call if I thought they were envenomated. From all of my training and from what I've read the extractors don't work and could cause more damage (if you do any of the old school cut-n-suck stuff).
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Old 1 Week Ago   #38
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,264
Norcalcoastie, thank you for your service in the United States Coast Guard, no telling how many lives you have saved and rescued from harm, while putting your own life at risk. This post has educated me on how important medical assistance is need with a rattlesnake bite, and how past information was relied on as a first aid treatment, were wrong. Thank you.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #39
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 6

This one hits very close to home for me. See the link below. I'm the brother.


I bought a satellite phone immediately after this incident. I take it with me on every trip. Helicopter Evacuation is the only solution.

Jake took 20 vials of antivenom.

He's doing great today.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #40
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 2
Garmin InReach or InReach mini. They are GPS devices that also have an SOS function. They are relatively expensive (~$300) and require a monthly subscription based on the plan you choose, but they use a satellite network that is suppose to be more reliable than the SPOT devices. I have the basic plan for the InReach mini and it runs about $10/month. I mostly kayak in an area that doesn't have cell service, and I don't bring my phone with me anyway, so it gives me peace of mind knowing if shit hits the fan I can still get some help.
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