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SNAKES IN THAILAND
Health and Safety Writeup
Minor injuries incurred along the hash trail or even in the car park are common and generally of little consequence. Usually these minor injuries are limited to scratches, scrapes, and cuts from bamboo, brambles, and briars. Sometimes they are caused by tripping over vines, logs or boulders and sometimes they result from falls off of high cliffs.
We have a professional ‘Hash Quack’
who is qualified and competent to render first aid for minor injuries and we have a rudimentary 1st Aid Kit to put a patch on a scratch or a splint on a bent bone.
Most often we find that washing the blood from a minor wound works just fine followed by liberal dosages of the amber nectar but it is at this point that a warning comes your way.
DO NOT NEGLECT TO PROMPTLY CLEAN AND APPLY SOME TYPE OF ANTISEPTIC/ANTIBIOTIC TO ANY INJURY WHICH DRAWS BLOOD. A SMALL SCRATCH CAN EASILY BECOME A LITTLE INFECTION AND THE LITTLE INFECTION CAN QUICKLY GROW UNCONTROLLED AND CAUSE A LOT OF PAIN AT THE SOURCE AND IN THE WALLET. A LITTLE INFECTION LEFT UNTREATED FOR TOO LONG CAN ALSO CAUSE DEATH.
As the messenger of this warning, I come to you with experience. Several years ago I was on a hash outside of Istanbul and while running the trail scratched my leg on a rusty bit of barbed wire. I completed the run and once back at the car park began to treat the little scratch by applying ice cold Efes which was injested in copious quantities. I did not feel and thing for three days. I woke up about three in the morning about three days after the hash scratch and my right leg was in pain below the knee at the source of the insignificant wound. This little scratch had taken on many colours of a prism with strong streaks of red, purple, yellow and green. I did not sleep another wink and reported to a hospital at a NATO base where I was then employed. The doctor took a quick look and asked me how long I had been in pain. I told him about 5 hours. He berated me for not reporting to the hospital immediately and I told him that I was very aware of the hours of operation of the hospital. He responded by telling me that emergencies were treated 24 hours a day and then had me rushed to the OR where a surgeon removed about a quarter pound of rotting flesh caused by something called Cellulitis. (Google it and you will learn that it can kill you if left without medical attention long enough). In my own case I stayed flat on my back in hospital for 10 days due to the severity of the infection and the amount of time required to apply skin grafts.
Last year, fellow hasher Meatballs got a little scratch on his leg which got infected with cellulitis. I found him in Cha Am Hospital flat on his back with an antibiotic drip. While visiting, the attending doctor came into the room and told Meatballs to go to a better equipped hospital. Meatballs told the doctor that he would arrange to go ‘tomorrow’. The doctor replied to Meatballs to go ‘right now’. Meatballs left immediately and transferred to Bangkok Hospital in Hua Hin where he was treated for a number of days at great expense before being released as an outpatient. However, his cellulitis lingered and caused him pain for about 5 months after which he left for Sweden. Once home in Sweden he continued medical treatment and eliminated the infection in two weeks.
Also last year fellow hasher Pedalphile received a scratch on his leg from a hash run which resulted in an infection that did not make itself known for several weeks. During the interim Pedalphile had made a trip home to the UK and then come back to Hua Hin where the infection kicked in a demobilized him for quite some time.
So take it from experienced hashers that minor injuries should not be ignored.
Also, it is suggested that in addition to the mobile phone, GPS, whistle, flashlight, camera, compass, canteen, binoculars, snake stick, dog stick, ski poles, backpack, and other gear you lug along on the trail that you come equipped with a small first aid kit that contains a small bottle of alcohol, iodine, Fucidin or other antiseptic/antibiotic along with some cotton pads and maybe some bandage material. Usually Band Aids will not stick to a sweaty, smelly, greasy, dirty, nasty runner but a cleanup of a flesh wound is a good idea. A small kit will easily fit in the side pocket or a hashers water belt. If you do not have one and want one I can get you one or direct you to a source. Once you get to the car park, seek out the Hash Quack. She’s a good quack but a better Hash Snacks.!
Some of you might have memories of the time in July of 2012 when 69 Forever was short cutting a run and became meat for a Rottweiler. However, you might not be aware that several months earlier, he returned from a hash run and after some time in the rainlocker before off to bed, he managed to cut himself on the elbow because he fell down the stairs drunk. This little scratch went unnoticed for several days until the onset of severe pain and fever which was cause by something you do not want to become personally familiar called Septecima. Google it and you will learn that 50% of people who get it do not live to talk about it. When 69 Forever finally did fall very ill with septecima which resulted from a little break in the skin, he ended up in Petcharat Hospital where he thought he would die. He experienced severe pain, hallucinations, fever, and the inevitable attack of financial depression. He also lost the epidermis over about 100% of his body.
Quick and proper medical attention might have prevented septecima from setting in and we are lucky to still have 69 Forever on our hash trails despite the hungry Rottie.
Bottom Line: Stay safe. The Hash provides you an opportunity to enjoy group fun and this can include improving your fitness but there can be risks for which the hash is not responsible.
Hospitals & medical assistance
Hua Hin hospitals and clinics
There is no shortage of good hospitals in Hua Hin. Meanwhile Cha Am is in need of a good one. However, for hash purposes we will probably want to rely on emergency care provided by the hospital nearest to the emergency, depending of course on the nature of the emergency. A broken leg is worth driving a bit farther for but a heart attack needs care right away. If hashers who own cell phones put emergency contact numbers into their phone memory they will be a step ahead of others who wonder what number to call. Similarly, if owners of Androids have a draft addressed to the hospitals that might be used in the case of an emergency, they too are a step ahead in getting the emergency care that is required.
The main medical centres, with contact details are listed below:
Bangkok Hospital, Hua Hin
This new hospital in Hua Hin is a great boost to the standard of overall health care in the town. It is part of The Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Group that operates in all the major Thai centres. The doctors and nurses have all been trained in Bangkok so you can expect the best in medical care.
The hospital has been opening in stages since November 2010 and was fully operational by April 2011. The OPD has been open since January 2011.
It will have a full range of medical services including general medicine, womens' care, general surgery, orthopaedics, urology, dental, eye and other clinics. Essentially, you will be able to visit the hospital for the full range of medical complaints. In limited cases where test results or treatment cannot be given in Hua Hin, patients will be referred to Bangkok.
Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin
888, Petchkasem Road: Hua Hin: Prachuabkirikhan 77110
Tel: 032 616 800
Web: Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin
San Paulo Hospital
A private hospital in central Hua Hin. It is well organised and staff speak English. This will probably be one of the best hospitals to visit first as long as your ailment is not too serious. The accident and emergency ward is always efficient and attention to detail is good. Rooms are comfortable and the level of patient care is exemplary. San Paulo also has dental and physiotherapy clinics. Prices for treatment in San Paulo can be extremely expensive so it is advisable to have health insurance if you need to go here.
San Paulo Hua-Hin Hospital
222 PHETCHAKASEM ROAD,
HUA HIN PRACHUAPKHIRIKHAN 77110
Tel : +66 32 532 576
Fax : +66 32 532 582
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org,
Tel : +66 32 532 576 Ext. 107, 108
Hua Hin Hospital
This is the main public hospital in Hua Hin. It can get extremely busy, but is certainly a good option for minor ailments. A new extension has now been completed and the level of patient care has improved as a result. It is significantly cheaper than San Paulo.
Tel: 032 520401.
Hua Hin Red Cross
As the name suggests, this facility is able to provide good and efficient medical care for non-serious conditions. It's always busy with locals, which is a good indicator of its professionalism and price.
Tel: 032 512567.
Petcharat Hospital, Petchaburi
This private hospital has an excellent reputation and is worth checking out if you do not receive the advice or care you are expecting. Prices can be relatively high, but it is able to deal with most serious medical emergencies. NOTE: the hospital is an approximate 45 min drive from Hua Hin.
Tel: 032 417070-8.
This facility is situated some 25km south of Hua Hin on an army base. As a result, it has an excellent reputation and will accept foreigners.
Tel: 032 612757.
Basic but good for some emergencies and all minor injuries.
Tel: 032 471808.
Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic
Situated on Petchkasem Road, on the west side just before you get to Hua Hin Polyclinic, this is run by a doctor who has residence at the military hospital in Pranburi. Although small and busy, the service is excellent. During the week, the clinic is open after 5PM. At weekends, there is a limited service during day hours. Appointments can be made and are advisable as it gets busy but they cannot be made by phone, only in person.
Dr Sumet Clinic
Located at 87/5 Petchkasem Road opposite soi 80 this clinic specialises in babies and children offering vaccinations and full diagnosis. Dr Sumet is a very good pediatric doctor which is why the place is always full! Opening times are Monday - Friday 07.30-12.00 and 16.00-21.00 and Saturday 08.00-12.00 and 16.00-21.00 call them on 032-533404.
Police and general emergency call - 191
Bangkok Hospital in Hua Hin - 1719
Medical emergency call - 1669
Fire - 199
Tourist Police - 1155
Highway Police - 1193
Ambulance and Rescue - 1554
Crime suppression - 1195
National Disaster Warning Centre - 1860 or 192
Cha-am municipality - 1132
Tourist Information Inquiry - 1672
There are plenty of snakes in Thailand and many species are venomous. There are a variety of cobras and kraits and the deadly Russells Viper just to name a few. So far we have been very lucky and nobody has been bitten on the hash trail yet.
The most important safety tip regarding snake bite is to get professional medical attention as soon as possible. Bangkok Hospital, San Paulo Hospital and the Thai Government Hospital in Hua Hin all stock anti-venom as does the Government Hospital in Cha Am. Petcharat Hospital and the Government Hospital in Petchburi are also prepared to treat snake bite.
In order for the medical center to determine what type of anti-venom to administer to the snake bite victim, an identification of the type of snake is essential. So take the snake with you when you go for help. Or, take a photo of the snake. At least try to have a person along who can identify the snake from a photo provided by the hospital.
Here is some info provided by one of our members who picked up a Malaysian Pit Viper in the tradition of Steve Irwin and lives to tell about it: (From Mysterry Man, AKA Terry Burge)
“There had been the same snake (Malayan Pit Viper) in my garden for a few months and each time I would throw a towel over it and carry it to the perimeter wall where it would be dropped to the other side, the humane person I am. One night we got back from dinner and there it was again. This time I decided to pick it up but before there was a chance the thing turned and bit me. So would I if I were the snake! I washed it under the tap and did what Indiana Jones would have done and tried to suck the venom out. Wrong in both cases as this adds to infection. After a few minutes my finger was turning blue. After 10 minutes the hand started to swell. Time to find a hospitial! Checked in to Bangkok Hospital. One night in intensive care with blood tests every six hours. One more night there just to make sure there was no further reaction to the bite. Over the next couple of weeks I went back for redressing of the wound. There was no healing going on just more dead skin being cut out. I then had a skin graft which also died. The tipping point in the healing was when my girlfriend and I went to the local temple for a buddha day. One of the people there recommended a man who dealt with snake bites. After some hocus pocus he gave me something to drink with herbs in it. Within a week it had nearly cleared up. Another week and it was back to looking like a finger again. Now 10 months on I have numbness around the site of the bite, a slightly reduced range of movement at the nearest joint and a little pain when I bend it fully. After doing some research I am lucky it was not a fully grown one which could have been lethal.We think we found it a few months later as the gardener killed one in the garden. This was also a Malayan Pit Viper. Still not safe as there was a little snake around our carport just last month. I will not be picking that one up!!!!! Hope this is useful. Mysterry Man”
The following important info was provided by one of our hashers from Down Under: (Though the info was developed down under, it is applicable here and just about everywhere) Health Services > Queensland Poisons Information Centre
Pressure Immobilisation Technique
The pressure-immobilisation first aid technique was developed in the 1970's by Professor Struan Sutherland. Its purpose is to retard the movement of venom from the bite site into the circulation, thus "buying time" for the patient to reach medical care. Research with snake venom has shown that very little venom reaches the blood stream if firm pressure is applied over the bitten area and the limb is immobilised. Pressure-immobilisation was initially developed to treat snakebite, but it is also applicable to bites and stings by some other venomous creatures. It is currently recommended for most life threatening venomous bites and stings in Australia.
Pressure-immobilisation is recommended for:
Additional Info regarding snakes and snake bite coming soon.
If you have half a mind to join the hash, that’s all it takes. Remember though that you hash at your own risk.