Editor’s Note: KXAN was advised by Austin-Travis County EMS that it received guidance you should lay or sit down with a snake bite above the level of the heart while waiting for medical help. This story has been updated to reflect that clarification.
TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Austin-Travis County EMS is warning residents Monday after treating a child who was bitten by a rattlesnake at Pace Bend Park in Spicewood. This is the second child bitten by a rattlesnake in the past two days the agency has responded to.
The child patient at Pace Bend will be taken to the hospital by STAR Flight. Pedernales Fire also responded to the call Monday afternoon.
ATCEMS used the incident as a chance to educate locals on avoiding venomous snakes. The agency says to be aware snakes may be in or near water, tall grass, fallen logs, outcroppings, under debris or other objects or in animal burrows.
ATCEMS advises if you see a snake, freeze, then back away slowly. They usually retreat or escape, if given the opportunity. The agency warns against trapping or handling snakes, even if it is dead.
Heavy footwear, snake-proof pants, leggings or boots can also be helpful.
If you are bitten by a snake, ATCEMS says to keep calm and call 911/seek medical attention immediately. Antivenom is used to treat venomous snake bites, and the sooner it can be administered, the sooner the damage can be stopped.
ATCEMS also says to take a picture of the snake from a safe distance if possible, because it can help with identifying the proper treatment needed.
While you’re waiting for medical aid to arrive, ATCEMS says you can give first aid to yourself using the following tips:
- Lay or sit down with bite above the level of the heart
- Remove rings/watches before swelling begins
- Wash bite with soap and water
- Cover bite with clean, dry dressing
- Mark leading edge of tenderness/swelling on skin and write time near it
Learn how to identify venomous snakes in Texas using the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.
Written by Jaclyn Ramkissoon