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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings Buzzards and glad to see folks back on the rivers,

Last weekend, we were on the NF John Day on the first night of camp and our 12 year old daughter stepped on a log and rattlesnake came out. No big deal, I poked it with a stick out of camp (I carry a Sig, but that’s a last resort) and my daughter was a little wiser running around.

But I got to thinking, what if she got bit? I carry a comprehensive first aid kit, radio, and a 406.1 EPIRB. None of that would treat her, I’m 30+ miles from the takeout, there is a road going back, but I sure wouldn’t want to hike her out. I guess I could activate the EPIRB, but a helicopter flight is really for life and death only (full disclosure, I’m a Coast Guard helicopter Aircrewman).

What are y’alls thoughts on this scenario? A remote snake bite? Abandon camp and run it out? Was wondering y’alls thoughts on serious injuries in remote stretches. Thanks!
 

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That is a really good question, but I would definitely start with this:
https://www.rei.com/product/407144/sawyer-extractor-pump-kit

I picked it up for a Labyrinth Trip, and the nasty bugs down there, but we use it all the time on mosquitoes. It is actually amazing on mosquito bites, sucking the venom out, and quickly and seriously reducing the itch and irritation. That was worth the $17 alone, and for frequent use.

Hope I never have to use it for something nastier, but based on the experience I have had, I would expect it to do a lot for a snake bite before you rush off for help.
 

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My gut says go with the helicopter evacuation when weighed against the other options. A snake bite could be pretty serious. I'm not familiar with your EPIRB device, but the first responders could possibly decide whether the situation warranted immediate evacuation.
 

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Hi,

Victim's relatively small body mass. Unknown quantity of venom injected. Unknown potency of venom (function of time since snake's last strike). Unknown victim vulnerability to that specific toxin.

I know what I would do if it was my child.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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Get the helicopter ASAP!

In the meantime calm her down (you too), immobilize her, and wrap the bite site with gauze. Get to and prepare the area for the helicopter to land - you may have to boat down the river farther. When the the helicopter lands follow their directions. On the Grand you're required to have big, long, orange, panels of some type of fabric or plastic to show the chopper where to land. Might be worth having them in your first aid kit or rescue bag. I think I'll start looking for and making some.
 

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As a paramedic- I concur the snake bite kits do not work. Also agree not all bites are equal. When a Rattlesnake bites- it is a defensive move-they are doing it because they think you are a predator. As a terrestrial animal, their rattle is a sign to hoofed animals not to step on them.
Their is a percentage of bites that where no venom is injected.



Most protocols for EMS call for keeping the patient calm, keeping the bite location lower than the heart. Immediate evacuation to a hospital is called for, and antivenom therapy.
I would use the Epirb...
 

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Looks like good advice here - best minimize movement and get to the ER.

But hey, the boys and girls in Astoria would love to come pick you up - though I'm sure they will make sure you hear about it afterwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Getting hoisted by your own? Been there, was glad for it;) These are some good thoughts out here. I’d heard that snake bite kits, tourniquets and the such don’t work. I’m happy to have my EPIRB (ACR PLB), but I know that helicopter rescues aren’t easy or guaranteed. I wouldn’t want to endanger a crew if there was another option.

Glad to hear the discussion y’all!
 

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Signal panels are cheap, don't mind getting wet, and take up next to no space (fold flat and put in gallon ziplock). Orange plastic tube tent for less than $10, cut into 3 X 8 foot panels and make the rangers happy... and hope you never have to use 'em.
I got my first (tube tent) at Yellow Front back in the 70's and they lasted until a few years ago. Took 'em out to show Peggy and they were disintegrated... fortunately had another set in better condition!
 

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Donuts are good! Activate that locator so they can plug the coordinates into their FMC, find a river bank area clear of high obstacles, trees, mountain sides, etc. It doesn't need to be too flat or perfect, as long as they can get one skid or tip of skid planted is all they really need, not perfect but it will work. Make an X with lifejackets, sleeping bags, tents, oars, etc., so they know their in the right place, nothing worse than flying into a group of Boy Scouts camping out in another spot with no emergency going on. I think there's a spot to swipe your credit card on the side of the helicopter if you want then to lift off, now days, those donuts are kind of pricey. I'm glad your daughter didn't get bit.
 

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At least they had something of value at Yellow Front:eek:..have not heard that referenced in about 30 years....there used to be an insult,' yer mama buys yer clothes at Yallow Front'' say that in your best Denver west side accent''bud''...they said that about Kmart too,yeah snobby but they were not known for quality...fer de lances are the stuff of my nightmares,yer probly dead...and cascabels[sp?] the tropical and supposedly most deadly rattlesnake,have had multiple locals warn me that they like to sun by the river,like where you are scouting/portaging.There you might have to resort to local traditional [Mayan]medicine or cure,if you could get to a village or town.
 

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i remember a hatching event in a really bad spot,the put in for lwr. Clear Creek/Black Rock take out.Right where you park, like a hundred baby rattlesnakes were hatching /just hatched some got run over by cars most were making their way down the rocky slope to the river, exactly where you carry boats down..have heard babies are more poisonous ,since they lack other defenses ,Anyone know if that is true?
 

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i remember a hatching event in a really bad spot,the put in for lwr. Clear Creek/Black Rock take out.Right where you park, like a hundred baby rattlesnakes were hatching /just hatched some got run over by cars most were making their way down the rocky slope to the river, exactly where you carry boats down..have heard babies are more poisonous ,since they lack other defenses ,Anyone know if that is true?

Baby snake. Late at night is when they come out...



It's not that baby snakes are more venomous; they have the same venom as adult snakes. They have less of it because they're smaller. However; they don't have control of when they envenomate. An adult snake likely won't invenomate you if they bite you in defense. It takes energy to make the venom; they use it to kill small animals thay are going to eat. A baby snake bites and pretty much will invenomate. That is why they are potentially more dangerous, but not more venomous.



Most snake bites are on hands. Alcohol is often involved. It reminds me of my favorite Peggy quote about keeping your party safe. "When someone says, 'hold my beer,' you say, 'NO; don't do that.' "
 

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nice Zappa reference..yea i just looked at snakes of Belize,although the fer de lance is super aggressive and bites a lot they do not usually envenomate you and you actually have a fair amount of time to get treatment..so you are not 'probly dead' ..the locals sometimes call them tres minutos ,3 minutes,so i thought you are effected right away.but that is apparently wrong...the photos of untreated bites are extremely gnarly..
 

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Man, I cannot believe Sawyer advertises their extractor kit for snake bites. The medical and EMS world has long since abandoned that practice. As a physician, I would 100% recommend an air evacuation in this scenario. While it is unpredictable how sick someone will get from a bite (yes a certain percentage will be dry bites), people do die, end up in the ICU, have to get their limbs filleted open due to something called compartment syndrome. The patients who die tend to be at the extremes of age - kids are more vulnerable due to their body weight. I would consider a snake bite way more legitimate than probably 90% of the emergency evacuations that take place.

Funny story. I have a friend who is an ER doc near Hood River. Some old timer, steelhead fisherman came off of the Deschutes (had been floating the lower section) with a snake bite to the hand. His hand was swollen up like a grapefruit. Of course, he was trying to be the hero and chase a snake out of camp with a stick. In the ER he was given the first dose of anti-venom and they planned to admit him to the hospital to finish the series of shots. He pondered this for a second but decided the steelhead run that Fall was too good, so he left against medical advice and went back to the river.
 
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