What to do if you or a pet are bitten by a rattlesnake

What to do if you or a pet are bitten by a rattlesnake
Posted at 2:56 PM, Oct 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-11 17:58:01-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- With recent headlines highlighting rattlesnake bites throughout San Diego County, you may be wondering what can be done to prevent bites, or in the unlikely event that you or a pet are bitten. 

According to the San Diego Humane Society, snake bites can happen year-round, but snakebite season spans from April through September when temperatures tend to be warmer.

In the U.S., nearly 8,000 people are bitten by poisonous snakes each year. Health officials say even bites from “harmless” snakes can cause infection or allergic reaction.

According to the county, the most common rattlesnake in San Diego County is the Southern Pacific, sometimes referred to as the Western Rattlesnake.

This type of rattlesnake can be found near housing developments, parks and even on the beach.

The county recommends several tips to prevent rattlesnake bites. The top tip it to just leave snakes alone. Check below for other tips on how to avoid snake bites:

  • Leave snakes alone. Many people are bitten when they try to kill a snake or get too close to it.
  • To remove snakes from your property, call County Animal Control at 619-236-2341
  • Stay on hiking trails as much as possible. Do not go into tall grass unless you wear thick leather boots.
  • Keep hands and feet out of areas you cannot see. If you are bitten by a snake, health officials say you should call for emergency assistance immediately.

Below is a list of things you should and should not do while waiting for paramedics if bitten by a snake:

  • Wash the bite with soap and water
  • Remove constrictive clothing, watches, rings and jewelry
  • Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart
  • Cover the area with a clean, cool compress or moist dressing
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Do NOT apply a tourniquet
  • Do NOT pack the area in ice packs or heat packs
  • Do NOT cut the wound with a knife or razor
  • Do NOT use your mouth to suck out venom
  • Do NOT let the victim drink alcohol
  • Do NOT let the victim do any strenuous activity
  • Do NOT apply electric shock

So, what if a pet gets bit by a snake? The Humane Society recommends several things in the unfortunate event a beloved pet gets attacked by a snake.

Scroll through the list below for more:

  • Don’t panic and act fast
  • Pick your pet up and immediately drive to the nearest animal hospital 
  • Alert the hospital: On your way, call the animal hospital to let them know what happened and that you’re on your way

There is also snake repellant available online. According to information posted about the product on Amazon, the product is made with "natural oils and sulfur" and works by triggering an "instinctual flight response in snakes."

According to at least one reviewer who claims to have used the product in his front yard, the product doesn't work. The reviewer says he found a snake sleeping on top of the repellant. Other people chimed in, saying they are pleased with the product. 

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