There are some common misconceptions about the treatment of rattlesnake bites. While waiting for the ambulance, here’s how to minimize your risk:
Don’t raise the area above the level of the heart. If you do this, your blood containing rattlesnake venom will reach your heart more quickly.
Stay as still as possible, as movement will increase your blood flow and the venom will circulate faster.
Remove any tight clothing or jewelry before you start to swell.
Let the wound bleed, as this may allow some of the venom to be released.
Don’t wash the wound, as your medical team may be able to use some of the venom from your skin to more quickly identify the correct antivenin.
Place a clean bandage on the wound.
Try to remain calm, as anxiety and panic can increase your heart rate, which will cause the venom to spread.
If you begin to experience signs of shock, try to lie down on your back, raise your feet slightly, and keep warm.
Don’t cut the wound, as this doesn’t help and you could cause an infection.
Don’t try to suck the venom from the wound, as you then introduce the venom to your mouth as well as introduce the bacteria from your mouth to the wound.
Don’t use a tourniquet or apply ice or water.