My brother: "That's nature."
His seven-year-old daughter: "Getting bit by a snake is nature?!"
This was the most notable brief conversation conducted as my brother, his wife, two children, and me and my two kids hauled it about one mile down the Indian Fort Lookout trail at the Berea Forest yesterday, after my daughter got bitten by an Eastern Copperhead.
The Berea hospital sent us via ambulance to the U of Kentucky Children's ER, and we sat in observation for about six hours. The bite was "mild":
Is there a lesson? I'm not sure. The snakes really are out there. (Two weeks ago in Arkansas, my son and I came upon a black king snake sunning right in the middle of the trail; of course, that's a much less scary snake to encounter.) So you can't be mindful enough. We all must have walked right past it--that's kind of the idea of camouflage. Maybe I'll start wearing pants instead of shorts when I go hiking...
I did learn the following (about outmoded treatment/first response ideas), which might be good to know:
1. Don't ice a snake bite.
2. Don't try to suck out the venom. (And don't bother with snake bit kits--research indicates they only extract an insignificant amount of venom.) And don't try cutting on yourself. At best, you'll increase the chances of a secondary infection.
3. Don't elevate the bitten area.
As we've discussed here before, nature may be beautiful and inspiring and humbling, but it can be dangerous, too. Be careful out there. Hopefully, we've absorbed enough bad luck for the summer and things will be smooth sailing from now on.
Now, I have to go teach a summer class.