A Southern California man’s idea of what a good selfie would be came back to bite him, and he may lose his hand because of it.
On Monday, Alex Gomez, 36, and his nephew Ronnie came upon a 4-foot rattlesnake in a field at his family’s ranch in Lake Elsinore, 60 miles south of Los Angeles, according to TV station KCBS.
Ronnie told the news outlet: “It was really thick and had ten rattles on it, it was rattling,” and “It was pretty mad.”
Nonetheless, Alex decided to put the snake around his neck and take a selfie. Shortly thereafter, things went awry when the venomous reptile bit him in the hand.
“I’m shocked that he would have that things (sic) around his neck,” Alex’s mother Deborah said. “It could’ve bit his neck, and that would have been it. That’s just being a fool.”
The LA Times reports that paramedics arrived on the scene and rushed him to a nearby hospital, where he was treated with anti-venom.
Alex’s mom said her son may lose his hand: “His skin is already rotting away.”
Deborah related that she decided to share the snakebite story with news outlets to “embarrass” her son.
“I told him the news people had been calling, and he said ‘Mom, you better not’, and I said ‘I’m going to.’ I’m going to teach him a real good lesson when he gets home. No mercy for him.”
“California Poison Control reports handling 800 rattlesnake bites per year, and one-to-two end up being fatal. Alex was bitten during peak rattlesnake bite season, which runs from April to October,” KCBS reports.
Snakes tend to avoid human contact, but will strike if they feel threatened.
If someone is bitten, the National Institutes of Health advises taking the following actions:
- Keep the person calm. Reassure him or her that bites can be effectively treated in an emergency room. Restrict movement, and keep the affected area below heart level to reduce the flow of venom.
- If you have a pump suction device (such as that made by Sawyer), follow the manufacturer’s directions.
- Remove any rings or constricting items, because the affected area may swell. Create a loose splint to help restrict movement of the area.
- If the area of the bite begins to swell and change color, the snake was probably venomous.
- Monitor the person’s vital signs — temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, and blood pressure — if possible. If there are signs of shock (such as paleness), lay the person flat, raise the feet about a foot, and cover the person with a blanket.
- Get medical help right away.
- Bring in the dead snake only if this can be done safely. Do not waste time hunting for the snake, and do not risk another bite if it is not easy to kill the snake. Be careful of the head when transporting it — a snake can actually bite for several hours after it’s dead (from a reflex).
- Do NOT allow the person to become over-exerted. If necessary, carry the person to safety.
- Do NOT apply a tourniquet.
- Do NOT apply cold compresses to a snake bite.
- Do NOT cut into a snake bite with a knife or razor.
- Do NOT try to suck out the venom by mouth.
- Do NOT give the person stimulants or pain medications unless a doctor tells you to do so.
- Do NOT give the person anything by mouth.
- Do NOT raise the site of the bite above the level of the person’s heart.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service adds that getting someone to the hospital within 30 minutes is important. Call ahead to let the facility know you are coming and take a picture, if you cannot bring in the actual snake.
- If a victim is unable to reach medical care within 30 minutes, a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, may help slow venom. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. A good rule of thumb is to make the band loose enough that a finger can slip under it.
- A suction device may be placed over the bite to help draw venom out of the wound without making cuts. Suction instruments often are included in commercial snakebite kits.
h/t: New York Post
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth