Rattlesnake bite leaves Nevada County woman unfazed | TheUnion.com

Rattlesnake bite leaves Nevada County woman unfazed

Dawn Podesta was bitten by a rattlesnake in her mother's garage on Sunday.
Dawn Podesta/dannypodesta@gmail.com

Around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, Dawn Podesta was searching for a vacuum to remove mold from her mother’s house.

She felt a sharp pang on her right trigger finger, like a razor blade had cut her, and began searching for the cause. Podesta shined a light around the room with her son, who discovered a footlong rattlesnake. He proceeded to smash its head with a hammer, killing it.


Podesta was stoic after realizing she was bitten by a rattlesnake.

“I don’t have fear,” said Podesta. “I’ve been through so much in my life,” including having been ejected through her front car windshield, and having been bedridden with a retroviral infection.

After her bite, she did “what every good cowgirl would do,” she said, describing how she scurried back into her mother’s home, sucked out the venomous blood from her finger and wrapped a tourniquet around her arm.

She headed to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital with her son and husband, was given an anti-venom shot and told to remove her tourniquet. The staff members hoped to keep her in the Intensive Care Unit for at least the night, but she left the hospital the same day with her family.

When she came home from the hospital, Podesta took magnesium, about eight thousand milligrams of Vitamin C, and Colloidal Silver, and had echinacea tea, following advice from the book,“Prescription for Nutritional Healing.”

Despite some pain in her finger and arm, and feeling a bit swollen, the Sparks, Nevada, resident said she was fine. She didn’t see any lines in her arms, an indication that the venom was spreading through her veins, according to her doctors.

“I can probably go out and mow the lawn,” she said.


While it’s conventional wisdom to suck the venomous blood from a snake bite and wrap an extremity in a tournaquet, as Podesta did, it’s ill advised according to the California Poison Control System. The organization suggests not to apply ice, use a tourniquet, nor try sucking out the venom. Rather, if someone has been bitten by a snake, it says people should stay calm, “keep the affected extremity elevated,” and seek immediate medical attention.

“Severe or even life-threatening symptoms may occur within minutes after the bite, or in other cases may begin after a couple of hours,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, Medical Director for the Fresno/Madera Division of California Poison Control System, on the organization’s website.

Although Podesta’s mom, Beverly Porter, has never had a snake bite occur at her home, snakes have been slithering around her place on Cement Hill Road since she moved to Nevada City with her husband.

“I had one last year near the house again, and one on my back deck,” she said.

Porter says she stabbed and killed a snake while her friend helped her blow it out from under her deck.

“As far as I’m concerned, a dead rattler is better than a live one,” she said.

If you’ve been bitten by a snake seek immediate medical attention. Contact the California Poison Control System at 1-800-222-1222.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User