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Rattlesnake bite advice is useless

April 11, 2013

Why can’t we ever get useful advice regarding rattlesnake bites? Every article you ever read suggests that avoiding rattlesnakes is best, by not walking in areas where rattlesnakes are common and, if one is encountered, not provoking them. Then, if, in spite of these precautions, you do get bit, every single article suggests that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Did anyone not know that? Why must we be treated like idiots?

If any author does go farther, the only advice is what we should NOT do, such as not sucking the venom or cutting the wound or applying a tourniquet. But there is never any useful advice about what one SHOULD do if medical attention is not close at hand. I am interested in this because I frequently hike alone in the mountains around Phoenix (BTW, attractive female companions of any age—I am 67—are always welcome). For example, is it better to walk quickly or even run, to the nearest point of rescue? Or is it better to conserve energy by walking slowly? If one can reach a potential rescuer by cell phone, is it better to sit down and wait, and, if so, how long?

Information on these questions would be very useful.

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