Yesterday, we spoke briefly about the danger posed by snakes and what you could do to protect yourself from harm. But with the California Poison Control Center estimating that 800 bites take place every single year, the subject is ripe for further expansion. Thus, we thought we’d direct you toward some safety advice provided by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Understanding rattlesnakes and the threat they pose is the first step to ensuring safety. The rattlesnake is the only venomous species of snake indigenous to California, and they can be found just about anywhere throughout the state. Bites tend to take place in spring and summer months as more people venture outside, and even metropolitan areas aren’t immune to the risk. Although a rattle is a telltale sign of danger, don’t rely on such a warning, as it doesn’t always occur.
Thankfully, there are myriad ways with which to protect yourself. You can even take steps to ensure a rattlesnake doesn’t arrive in your yard. Investment in a rattlesnake-proof fence is a good idea, but doing so is a bit pricy. Otherwise, keep snake-attracting items like bushes, trees, and rock and wood piles far from your fence and your home.
If you’re going to be out hiking or even somewhere like a golf course, plan ahead. Boots are preferable to sandals or bare feet, and you should watch where you step at all times. Lightweight pants that cover your entire leg are a great idea, as is sticking to paths and avoiding areas with tall grass. Step on rather than around hazards like rocks or logs, and conduct a thorough check of your environment before sitting or lying down.
If you go swimming, understand that you’re not completely free from danger, as rattlesnakes can move through the water, meaning that you have to be on guard. You should bring an acquaintance along every time you hike, and if you ever take your kids along, make sure they understand to stay clear of snakes. Have a cellphone on your person at all times and let people know where you’re headed so that they can contact authorities if you don’t report back by a given time.
When all the precautions in the world still can’t prevent a bite from occurring, keep your cool, even if you have to drive to a hospital. Dangerous and aggressive driving maneuvers could put you more at risk and cause an accident, preventing your prompt treatment.
Take off any constricting items like a ring or watch, and when you’re able, apply soap and water to the wound. Hopefully you’ve incurred one of the estimated one in four bites that don’t involve the transfer of venom, but no matter what type of bite took place, seeking out medical care immediately is essential.