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Out Alive: Bitten by a Rattlesnake

A dayhiker fights for her life—as her body shuts down.

Key Skill:
Don’t surprise a snake.
Stay alert, especially on overgrown trails where vipers may wait for passing prey, and when cool temps lure snakes into open areas to bask. Step on
top of logs and rocks instead of over; a rattler might strike defensively if it’s hiding underneath and you surprise it.

Never Forget: It’s not out to get you.
If a snake is in motion, get out of its way. If it’s coiled, give it a wide berth (at least 10 feet) and go around it. Snakes can only extend
up to 40 percent of their body length during a strike, but you can’t jump out of the way; from start to finish, the motion takes less than
half a second.

Snakebite First Aid
1. Remove jewelry or clothing that may restrict circulation near the bite because of swelling. Struck in the foot or leg?
Don’t remove your shoe. You may not be able to put it back on to hike out.
2. Wash the wound. That’s all. Don’t do anything else to the bite site.
3. Keep the wound at heart level. (For lower limbs, it’s OK to walk.)
4. Evacuate. Get to a hospital ASAP. Pain and swelling may be severe, and within six hours the flesh around the wound may start to die.

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