The Danger of Rattlesnake Bites

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Arizona has incredibly unique and diverse ecosystems. From the cool northern climes of Flagstaff to the harsh, dry, desert of Phoenix. Arizona has hundreds of unique animal species, each of them valuable and interesting, some however, more dangerous than others. The rattlesnake is one Arizona’s most iconic animal resident. It is also one of the most deadly.

The Effects of a Bite

Rattlesnake bites contain a hemotoxic element which damages tissues and the circulatory system by destroying blood cells and skin tissue. This could result in deadly internal hemorrhaging. The venom also contains a neurotoxic element which targets the nervous system and slows a victims breathing, sometimes even stopping it. Symptoms of a rattlesnake bite typically include pain, tingling and burning around the area of the bite, swelling, numbness, nausea, and difficulty breathing.

On Site Treatment

Rapid response is one of the most important factors when treating a rattlesnake bite. The American Red Cross recommends immediately washing the bite area with clean water and soap. The bite victim should be immobilized and the location of the bite show be kept lower than the heart. This is to slow the spread of the venom. If a suction device is available, it can be applied to the bite location and used to help draw out some of the venom. This is not a full treatment for a rattlesnake bite. As always, in the event of an injury or an accident, medical professionals should be contacted immediately.

Avoiding Bites

In Arizona, rattlesnakes can be found almost anywhere, from your backyard to an isolated hiking trail. Typically, they will signal their proximity with their iconic rattle, but this may not always occur. During cooler months, rattlesnakes are most active during the day, while on the hottest days they are most active at night. They are well camouflaged and can be difficult to spot when out in the desert. The best thing you can do is keep your eyes open, and stay alert. If you find a rattlesnake, remove yourself from the location as quickly and carefully as possible.

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