Emergency Situations While Hiking or Hunting

No matter how well you plan, emergencies arise.  Are you ready?

Snake Bites 

If you remember the rhyme, " ... red & yellow kill a fellow, ...." you know this is not a venomous snake!

If a snake bites someone in your party, the day’s agenda will change!  The most important job you have is helping the injured party.

First, let’s dispel a few myths.  Rattlesnakes don’t always rattle before striking.  They may not rattle if they have just shed their skin.

You don’t have to worry about bites because you have chanced upon a mom snake with her babies.  Generally, snakes are live births and the babies strike out on their own rather quickly.

Solutions to Your Snake Problem

  • Is the snake venomous?  If you don’t know, don’t assume!
  • Keep the victim (and the rest of the group) calm.
  • Discourage folks from sharing gruesome snake stories!
  • Wash the wound with soap and water.
  • Keep the victim quiet and discourage them from walking around.
  • Keep the bitten area (usually a hand or foot) below heart level.
  • Take the victim to the nearest medical facility.
  • Don’t waste time trying to kill the snake; many secondary bites happen this way!

Animal Bites

This is a rare occurence in the field — but it does happen. How do you handle this?

  • If the skin is broken, wash the wound with soap and water.
  • Apply pressure to the bleeding, if any.
  • Determine if the attack was provoked.
  • If the animal attacked without provocation, you must consider rabies!
  • Notify the authorities as quickly as possible (county sheriff, etc.).
  • Seek medical attention for the victim.

Insect Stings and Spider Bites 

Black Widow = Shiny with Hour-Glass Shape on Lower Abdomen; Brown Recluse = Violin-Shaped Mark on Top of Head

Bees and wasps are common pests in the outdoors.  Solutions include:

  • Wash the sting with soap and water.
  • Put a cold pack on the injury for 15 -20 minutes.
  • Give aspirin (acetaminophen to children) and apply cortisone cream.

Some folks have an allergic reaction to stings/bites:

  • Their wound swells quickly – beyond normal bounds (toe sting swells the whole leg, etc.),
  • they can have shortness of breath,
  • have a sudden drop in blood pressure,
  • become anxious and restless,
  • have a rapid pulse

THIS IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY! Get medical help immediately!

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Black Widow Spider, Brown Recluse or Scorpion

  • Clean the wound with soap and water,
  • Apply a cold pack,
  • Seek medical attention ASAP!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

What to Do When Bitten by a Snake (Some Surprising Answers)!

This is the last of the three articles about snakes:

After Being Bitten

Just Because You Don't Expect to See a Coral Snake in Water Doesn't Mean he Can't be There!

If you are bitten, there are some things you can do to lessen the effects.

  • Stay calm!  Remember that frantic activity will hasten the spreading of the venom throughout your body.
  • Stop extra activity; reduce your movement of the bitten limb.  Over 98% of all snake bites are to the hands and feet!
  • Try to keep the area of the bite lower than your heart!
  • Before the swelling starts, remove your jewelry (rings, watches, etc.) and any tight-fitting clothing.
  • Do not try to capture or kill the snake.  That’s how folks get multiple bites!
  • Don’t add heat of cold to the bite.
  • Do not try to remove the venom yourself!
  • Do not apply home remedies to the bite.
  • Do not use a tourniquet  or constricting band around the bite.
  • Do not use aspirin or related meds because they can increase the bleeding!
  • Get to a medical facility as quickly as possible.
  • Call 911 or the Poison Control Center (1-800-764-7661) to find out which medical centers carry antivenom.
  • Be able to describe the snake to emergency medical staff.
  • Don’t be fooled by a lack of symptoms!
  • You might be in an area where there is no hospital; look for a doctor’s office.
  • Walk – and don’t run; drive carefully – don’t race down the road;  keep calm – don’t use frantic movements.

The Movies vs. These Directions

If you are an adventure fan of movies, some of these directions fly in the face of old movies.  Do you remember when a hero applied a tourniquet to the hapless victim’s bitten limb?

Or better yet, remember how your face shriveled up looking at the hero cutting the victim’s limb and sucking out the venom?

Well, there was a problem with those solutions.

People spent so much time finding a tourniquet, getting a knife clean, etc., that they delayed getting the bitten person to a hospital.  Folks died from the help they got!

These directions urge you to get help from those best able to handle the crisis effectively!

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Well, I’m tired of snakes; on to other subjects!

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Snake photo – courtesy of Wikipedia!

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This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

If You Meet a Rattlesnake**

This is One Puppy I'd Leave Alone!

If you are camping, hiking, or even out hunting, you should pay close attention to your surroundings.  While you are enjoying the scenery or excitement of hunting, keep an eye out for a fellow-traveler … the rattlesnake.

If You Hear a Rattle …

You are probably within 4 – 5 feet of a rattler.  This is no time to decide to out-run the reptile.  This is the time to freeze-in-place.

If you patiently stay in place, you can out-last the snake and he will slither off.

If you start to run and the snake is ready to strike, there is no way you can move fast enough!  Remember that rattlers can leap forward one-half the length of their body.

And if He Bites?

Rattlesnake bites are very dangerous.  Remember how we learned to ‘cut and bleed’ the bite and then apply a tourniquet? Forget it!  That is s-o-o ‘old school.’

Within 30 minutes, the bitten area will swell up and turn black & blue. The accepted policy now is to use an ace bandage or soft cloth. Put it between the bite and your heart.

Don’t tie it as tight as a tourniquet — cutting off circulation isn’t the idea. The best plan is to hurry to get medical attention immediately after applying the bandage.

Interesting Facts About Bites

Not everyone who is bitten gets venom in the bite!  In about 30% of cases, no venom is transferred during the bite. Your best protection is thick clothing and leather boots.

Another surprising statistic has to do with the location of the bites: About 98% of snake bites are to hands and feet.

Finally

Rattlesnakes, or any snake, for that matter, prefer not to bother with you.  They would prefer to slither away — in peace.  Don’t force them to attack. It will ruin your day!

Don’t let your undies get bunched up over snakes.  Remember that we share the earth with snakes, and they were here first!  Just use caution and reason.  The truth is:  Snakes like you less than you like them!

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Jim sent this very interesting comment: “… rattlesnakes don’t always rattle prior to striking. I can’t sight my original source for this information but here is a quote from wikipedia (suppose to be referenced but I could figure out which reference when with what information). “Adult snakes may lose their rattles on occasion, but more appear at each molting. If the rattle absorbs enough water in wet weather, it will not make noise.” Just thought I’d pass it along….”

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This blog is a companion to my website, EasyOnlineOrdering.com