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#120729 - 01/18/08 10:47 PM Immediate action for a snake bite?
Taurus Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 423
Loc: Ontario
As a Canadian, I don’t often worry about snakes as I tromp through my Countries backyard. There is only one type of poisonous snake in Canada. I am told it is a “diet” snake as it does not pack half the venom (or calories, .....ha ha ) of most snakes in the U.S. or elsewhere. In all my travels while hunting and the like while in Canada I have never come across any of these poisonous snakes, I have only seen the harmless garden type, so I am not very concerned about it here. As I will be heading back overseas soon I began once again to consider such things as snakes, Camel spiders and scorpions in my survival training. I only know of one Soldier bitten by a snake on my last tour. I don’t know what kind of snake it was but he ended up getting airlifted back to a field hospital because of it. I have started reading about this topic because I want to know how to self treat as best as possible if I am bitten and help is not at hand. After reading a few articles I have become very confused. confused Although all well written they ALL contradict each other constantly. One tells you that you should suck out the venom, the other tells you not to. One tells you to lance the wound with a scalpel and the other advises against it. One speaks about applying a tourniquet above the bite and the other forbids it altogether. I am obviously missing something as I can draw no common ground to link them all together as to what is the best course of action should I become bitten. Our Medics are among the best in uniform and I trust them fully, but I am not sure if they carry snake bite kits or not. As well, there are times when the Medics are unavailable. I plan to buy another snake bite kit of my own (on my last tour I had a Coghlan’s kit but was later told they may be inferior). If I am away from help and I (or a friend) get’s bitten by a poisonous snake, what should I do?? Keep in mind that this will be a tactical operation where some rules will not apply. I know eventually you will need professional help but it may take several hours or longer for that to be possible. As well, staying put and resting may not be a option depending on the situation. I know a lot of you here on this forum live in places where you deal with poisonous snakes on a daily basis.

Any advice would be appreciated. smile Thanks.

#120732 - 01/18/08 11:06 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: Taurus]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
I would go with the Sawyer kit.

Link . Scroll down to Bites and Stings...

#120736 - 01/18/08 11:44 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: OldBaldGuy]

Originally Posted By: OldBaldGuy
I would go with the Sawyer kit.

Link . Scroll down to Bites and Stings...

I have one and I've never needed to use it but it's a very well constructed kit and the suction that the little pump can produce is amazing.

I never considered something like this until my dad found out he's deathly allergic to insect stings.

#120738 - 01/19/08 12:08 AM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: Taurus]
sicily02 Offline

Registered: 02/13/07
Posts: 35
Taurus carry some activaited charcoal in a small water proof container with you always while over there. you can get it from a heatlh food store. If you are bitten take out your charcaol
mix with water to make a paste and put it on your bite area several inchs around the bite area. now wrap that up with a bandage. This is a pultice and is very effective in drawing out
poison. If you get a sawyer extractor great. then put the pultice on after you have sucked as much poison out that you can.
If you do not have the sawyer extractor then us the charcaol.
I have never been bitten by a poisonois snake but I did carry this over there in the event this would happen When I was in the Marines in the first gulf war. My family has used this for many
yeas for stings, rashes, and even take it for upset tummies with great success. I still carry and use it to this day. Remember that your chemical suit has it in there too to help keep you safe during a chemical attack. Activaited Charcoal is awsome stuff.
Take care and stay safe over there,

#120739 - 01/19/08 12:08 AM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: ]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
The Sawyer kit is splendid for insect bites. It's efficacy with snakebites is unproven and subject to debate. All of the Cutter type 'cut and suck' kits are utterly useless and cause more harm. If you apply a tourniquet to a limb you will lose it. Your best aid is to study the venemous sankes and insects and understand their habits and how each toxin works ; neuro, muscular etc. There is only one agreed upon course of action; First, remain calm. Second evacuate to a proper medical facility asap.

#120740 - 01/19/08 12:25 AM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: Taurus]
sicily02 Offline

Registered: 02/13/07
Posts: 35
I noticed Chris put in that to get medical help as soon as you can. I ment to say that too but after you have appleid the pultice. I can not stress that enough. A pultice does help and is better than the ace bandage stuff and most of the other stuff out there being said like Chris said Yes do remain calm too.
Also you might not be able to get medical help right a way. So use the pultice untill you can be seen by a doctor. Things happen to where the top brass will tell you we can get you out of trouble in 15 minutes Bull it may take six hours before they can come and get you untill then you are on your own. It sucks but it does happen. personal experience it was not a snake bite but gunshot wound not me another guy I can still hear his crying to this day while in first gulf war. GET THE CHARCOAL.

#120742 - 01/19/08 01:05 AM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: sicily02]
sodak Offline

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 410
Sawyer Extractor is a very good kit, I would follow it up with the charcoal, and then, since you're Canadian, some Yukon Jack. It helps you to remain calm! laugh

#120743 - 01/19/08 01:07 AM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: sicily02]
NAro Offline

Registered: 03/15/01
Posts: 484
Brian, can you link to or reference any authority to support the use of any poultice (charcoal or other..)for snake envenomation? I can't find any authority that thinks any poultice will "draw out" snake venom... but I'm open to guidance.

I found this excerpt from the Navy Operational Medical Lessons Learned Center interesting:
- - There have been no U.S. Military deaths due to snakebite over the last six years, according to the DOD Mortality Register, which contains detailed cause and manner of death of all U.S. active duty personnel since 1998.
- - There have been no reported U.S. Military deaths due to snakebite since 1978, as indicated by the AFIP mortality files, which contain “unusual cases” and all autopsies performed by Armed Forces Medical Examiner – approximately 1/3 of all active duty deaths.
- - From 1994 to 2003, four U.S. active duty personnel (two Air Force, two Marine Corps) were admitted to U.S. Military medial treatment facilities (MTF) for snakebite (ICD-9 Code: 905.0), as determined by a review of the DOD Medical Surveillance System.
These stats. are 3 years old, but interesting.

I also found this from the Alabama 4th Sustainment Brigade Medical Information Officer...from Operation Iraqi Freedom July 7, 2006
How NOT to Treat Snakebites:
Though U.S. medical professionals may not agree on
every aspect of what to do for snakebite first aid, they are
nearly unanimous in their views of what not to do. Among
their recommendations:
No ice or any other type of cooling on the bite.
Research has shown this to be potentially harmful.
No tourniquets. This cuts blood flow
completely and may result in loss of the affected
No electric shock. This method is under study
and has yet to be proven effective. It could harm the
No incisions in the wound. Such measures
have not been proven useful and may cause further


#120753 - 01/19/08 01:47 AM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: NAro]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...can you link to or reference any authority to support the use of any poultice (charcoal or other..)for snake envenomation.."

I can not speak from experience about a snake bite (but I did come VERY close one time), however I can about a bite from another critter (don' know what). One day I received a bite from something on my forearm. In no time at all red lines started working their way uphill from the bite (as in toward my heart). I applied a poultice of cold water and baking soda, within about a hour the lines started to go back down, and within about four hours there was no evidence of a bite at all, other than a little red dot. Worked for me...

#120772 - 01/19/08 04:14 AM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: Taurus]
sicily02 Offline

Registered: 02/13/07
Posts: 35
NAro I used to have a book for the uses of charcoal. My mom might still have one I will see her Saturday. But for right now
check at your local heath food store. A place called black hills instute in south dakata uses charcoal with great succes my mom went there and learned more ways to use it. Pultices just have a drawing effect on on wounds I have used the for all kinds of stuff. Bee stings, cuts that have become infected, tummy ackes,
sider bites, even the reclusa bites have very good reaction with charcoal. I know a guy down in arkansas who has been using it for over 60 years he is a doctor. The stories he tells of people
being helped with useing charcoal pultices is amazing. Look up the Ellen White foundation She died in 1915 but she writes of using charcoal with great sucess. The famous Dr. Kellog of the early 1900s use to convers with her on medical probelms. Ellen had only a third grade education yet wrote many books on heath.
She also traved the world as a missonary her stories are awsome reading. A place called uchy pines I may have spelled that wrong. In the past I have ordered charcaol from them. I have used the commom broad leaf plantain with spctacular results as a pultice for stings,infected cuts, and bites besides drinking it as tea sweetened with honey. Charcoal used as a pultice on areas of welling is unbleiveable I watched my mom use it on a swollen ankle with great results. The chemical suits in the first gulf war were inpregnated with charcoal as a means of defense against chemical weapons. I remember putting on my suite and when I took it off had charcoal powder on me. It is used in nuclear waste confinement I have heard. In California at a place called weimer medical missionarry collage they use it there and show people how to use it for treating cases of skin problems and tummy ackes,bites,cuts, and stings. Charcoal is also great at taking bad taste out of water and for cleaning water to make it safe to drink. I have personly used it for that. Some water purifiers have charcoal in there products.
Hope this helps,

Edited by sicily02 (01/19/08 04:14 AM)

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