Cary Elwes, the British Actor, was recently in the news because he was bitten by a rattlesnake. You may think he was on a hike or out in the woods. He was outside but he was just doing gardening in his yard like he usually does. Many people forget that they can be in their backyard or maybe just walk around their neighborhood and be bitten. Be on the lookout and be prepared! It’s rattlesnake season. Cary Elwes had to go to Urgent Care in Malibu, CA where he and his family are longtime residents. Then he was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center.
It’s a good thing he was able to get help. If left untreated, rattlesnake bites can be deadly although it is rare. According to UCI Health, you should get medical attention as soon as possible, but don’t panic! Stay calm.
Here are the recommendations from UCI Health:
- For more severe bites, you could try creating a splint to immobilize the bitten appendage, but this is seldom necessary.
- In all cases, it’s a good idea to lightly wrap the wound with gauze.
- If you have cell service, call 911. You can either request an ambulance ride or, in dire situations, medical evacuation. In the most favorable circumstances, you may want to simply get directions to the nearest medical facility offering antivenom treatment.
Once at the hospital, you will be assessed for possible antivenom treatment. This outcome is based on the severity of your outward symptoms and the results of one or more blood tests. The concern is that envenomation (i.e., the presence of venom in your body) can cause your blood’s platelet and fibrinogen counts to drop to dangerous levels, which can lead to hemorrhaging.
Snakebite symptoms can take quite a while to manifest, so you will likely be observed and retested for a minimum of four to six hours. Severe bites may require several days of hospitalization to ensure you have received sufficient antivenom treatment.
For more information, visit UCIHealth.org