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Austin medics send warning after treating two pediatric rattlesnake bites in two days

Medics said a child was bitten by a rattlesnake Monday at Pace Bend Park.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-Travis County EMS medics are sending out a warning after treating two pediatric patients for rattlesnake bites this week. They said the two incidents happened within a span of about two days.

Saturday's incident occurred at the Lake Hills Community Park on Edgewater Drive. Monday's bite occurred at Pace Bend Park. Medics, along with the Pedernales Fire Department and STAR Flight, were on the scene around 3:30 p.m. Monday.

ATCEMS tweeted the following tips on snakebites:

Snakebite prevention:

  • Be aware that snakes may be in or around water, tall grass, fallen logs, outcroppings, hiding under debris or other objects or in animal burrows.
  • If you see a snake, freeze, then back away slowly and don't touch it.
  • Given the opportunity to retreat or escape, they usually will.
  • Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it. NEVER handle a venomous snake, not even a dead one or its decapitated head.
  • Heavy footwear, snake-proof trousers, leggings or boots will help reduce your risk.

What to do if bitten by a snake:

  • Keep calm.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible (dial 911 or call local EMS)
  • Antivenom is the treatment for snakebites. The sooner antivenom can be started, the sooner irreversible damage can be stopped.
  • Take a picture of the snake from a safe distance if possible. Identifying the snake can help with treatment.
  • Apply first aid while waiting for EMS:
    • Remove rings and watches before swelling starts.
    • Wash the bite with soap and water.
    • Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.
    • Mark the leading edge of tenderness/swelling on the skin and write the time alongside it.
    • If possible position yourself so that the bite is above the level of your heart.

In regard to the last point, ATCEMS said it recently changed its protocols after guidance from antivenomation experts changed earlier last year to keep the bite above heart-level.


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