Everyone should keep that in mind when running that many snakebites would not occur if victims avoid contact with the snake when they see it.
If you run into a rattlesnake on your path stop! Take a look around and note your location. Enjoy the encounter (from a safe distance) as these are magnificent creatures to observe. If the snake is on the trail, go around it being careful where you step if you leave the trail. If on a race course, report the snake and its location to the next aid station personnel, they will radio back to the previous aid station so that they can alert the runners entering that area.
If you run into a rattlesnake do not harass or attempt to "shoo" the snake away. This will aggravate the snake and put it in an aggressive/defensive state. The snake may not give warning to the next runners through that get too close. Not to mention it requires some kind of contact that could result in injury to you or the snake.
Common symptoms of a rattlesnake bite are:
Death from rattlesnake bites are extremely rare in victims that receive medical treatment. The severity of a rattlesnake bite is dependent on a number of factors, including the size and type of snake, the amount of venom injected, the location of the bite on the body and the health of victim.
The cornerstone of treatment is rattlesnake antivenin which must be administered in a medical facility. Therefore, the most important aspect of first aid is to arrange transportation of the victim to a hospital as quickly as possible. All other considerations are secondary. Instead of trying to perform ineffective first aid procedures, driving the victim to either a health care facility or to a telephone where help can be summoned is the best first aid. Making incisions in the fang marks, applying cold, and using a tourniquet have all been shown to be either ineffective or dangerous.
Remember, we are in the snake's habitat and we must respect and live with them. They are an important link in the environment, helping to keep rodent populations under control. They should not be killed or harmed.
Run The Planet thanks the Lost Boys 50 Mile Trail Run website for the permission to reprint the article "Rattlesnake Territory".