Rattlesnake bites in California

(This is an excerpt of a press release from California Poison Control System)

California Poison Control System (CPCS) reminds Californians that rattlesnakes are waking up from hibernation, and even baby snakes possess dangerous venom as soon as they hatch. A rattlesnake bite can produce painful swelling, bruising, tissue destruction, bleeding problems, and in rare cases, can be fatal. Most bites occur between the months of April and October.

“While the odds of being bitten by a rattlesnake are slim compared to other environmental injuries (about 300 cases per year in California), by following some precautions outdoors, people can minimize the chance of being bitten,” says Dr. Cyrus Rangan, Assistant Medical Director for the CPCS. He added that children are naturally curious, and may look into open pipes and loose brush, or under rocks and bushes, where snakes may sometimes lie quietly. Children need to be carefully supervised outside, especially in wooded and desert areas where snakes tend to live. Remember, that rattlesnakes do not always make a rattling sound, so you may be standing next to a rattlesnake and not even know it.

Some snake bite prevention tips include:

- Wear boots and long pants when hiking.

- Stay on trails when hiking, away from underbrush and tall weeds.

- Do not touch or disturb a snake, even if it appears dead.

- Carefully inspect logs or rocks before sitting on them.

- Never hike alone in remote areas. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.

- Teach children to respect snakes and to leave them alone.

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