DENVER (KDVR) — A 6-year-old boy tragically died earlier this month after he was bitten by a rattlesnake while on a trail at Bluestem Prairie Open Space in Colorado Springs.

Now many people are asking, “what do I do if I get bitten by a rattlesnake?”

Rattlesnakes usually avoid humans, but about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous
snakes in the United States each year, with 10 to 15 deaths, according to the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration
.

What to do if a rattlesnake bites you

According to Denver Health, here’s what you should do if you are bitten by a rattlesnake:

  • Remain calm.
  • Seek immediate medical attention by dialing 911 or calling your local poison center: 1-800-222-1222.
  • Keep the bitten arm, leg, or body part at or slightly below heart level.
  • Note the time the bite happened. Avoid trying to capture or kill the snake, but try to remember its color and shape so you can describe it. This can help with medical treatment. If you can do so safely and without delay, take a photo.
  • Remove all tight clothing or jewelry.

What not to do if a rattlesnake bites you

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said you should NOT do the following if you are bitten by a rattlesnake or any venomous snake:

  • 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.
  • Do not wait for symptoms to appear if bitten, get medical help right away.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet.
  • Do not slash the wound with a knife or cut it in any way.
  • Do not try to suck out the venom.
  • Do not apply ice or immerse the wound in water.
  • Do not drink alcohol as a painkiller.
  • Do not take pain relievers (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen).
  • Do not apply electric shock or folk therapies.

The USDA said frenetic, high-speed driving places the victim at greater risk of an accident and increased heart rate. If the doctor is more than 30 minutes away, keep the bite below the heart, and then try to get to the medical facility as quickly as possible.