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Should I Keep Moving If I Get Bit By a Rattlesnake?

I recently came off trail in the night and nearly stepped on a rattlesnake in the Smokies. If bitten and you are an hour or two out, would you recommend to keep moving to get out?

Question:

I recently came off trail in the night and nearly stepped on a rattlesnake in the Smokies. If bitten and you are an hour or two out, would you recommend to keep moving to get out?

Submitted by - Tom, Cincinnati, OH

Answer:

Hi Tom,
There’s not much scientific evidence to cite here, but experts generally agree, yep, keep moving when you’re only a couple of hours out.

Once you’re to a vehicle, head for the nearest hospital where antivenin should be available if you need it. But, take it easy while you’re hiking. You want to keep your circulatory system as quiet as possible, preventing a rapid spread of venom, which is why the best response if you’re way off the road is to hunker down, get still, keep the bite site about the same level as your heart, and wait for someone to come get you (which, of course, might not happen if you’re alone and unable to call for help).

On the plus side, snakebites in the U. S. seldom cause human fatalities. In fact, one bite out of every four to five does not induce venom. Rapid onset of pain and swelling would be indicators that you are not one of the venom-free bitten humans. –Buck

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