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Your Healthy Family: Do you know what to do if a snake bites you?

Posted at 8:25 AM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 12:16:41-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – We are talking about what to do if you are bitten by a snake here in southern Colorado with UCHealth Memorial Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. George Hertner.

Snake bites are not uncommon injuries this time of year says Dr. Hertner, “This is the time of year that we need to be aware that snakes are out and about likely what we see in Colorado are rattlesnakes and fortunately some of the time if they have the opportunity to give you a warning that you’re bothering them and they rattle when that happens you need to avoid the snake.”

So let’s see how much you know about getting bitten by a snake.

If a snake bites you, you should:

A: Cut the bite open

B: Suck out the poison

C: Apply a tourniquet

D: Apply a cold pack

Answer: none of the above

Dr. Hertner says, “You don’t want to fall into the trap of all the myths and things you’ve seen on television.  You’re not going to cut the bite, you’re not going to suck on the bike, you’re not going to put a tourniquet on it, and you don’t need to put a cold pack on it.”

If a snake bites you, you should:

A: Run off the trail and rush to the hospital ASAP

B: Stay calm

C: Elevate arm or leg (if that is where you are bitten) to the level of your heart

D: Call 9-1-1, or seek treatment quickly

The answer is: B, C, and D

Dr. Hertner says, “If it’s an arm or a leg you’d like to elevate it to the level of your heart and then calmly get transported to a hospital.  We would love to see you here at UCHealth Memorial where we can provide you the care that you need. There’s no reason to run down the hill to the car.  You want to try to remain calm and either call for an ambulance or have one of your friends or family drive you to the hospital.”

For more of our snake bite quiz with Dr. Hertner click (HERE)

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