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#120784 - 01/19/08 06:20 AM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: sicily02]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I have to agree with Chris. Keep calm, don't go running in panic, get to medical help ASAP. No booze, no cutting, no tourniquet.

If putting a charcoal poultice on the bite will calm you down, I guess it wouldn't hurt.

Snake venom usually travels via the lymph system, and it will probably start moving quite soon after the bite. I doubt that a poultice is going to draw out anything that is already out of its reach.

Don't suck it by mouth, as the old manuals used to advise. If you have any kind of cut or abrasion inside your mouth and you get venom in/on it, it would be the same as the snake biting you there. The farther away the bite is from your head and heart, the better. Don't beg for trouble.

I believe there are two or three (at least) types of venom, and they affect your body differently.

Here is an interesting article aimed at the military on venomous snakes in Iraq (some photos) and how the venom affects your body, by a zoologist: http://www.curator.org/legacyvmnh/Whatsnew/venomous_snakes_of_iraq.htm

Sue




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#120789 - 01/19/08 12:20 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: Susan]
jshannon Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 575
Loc: North Texas
Wilderness Snakebite Protocol

1. Scene safety
2. Take photo of snake from 6 feet away if possible
3. Keep victim calm
4. Remove constricting clothing and jewelry
5. Cleanse wound and apply sterile dressing
6. Splint body part as if fractured, in neutral position
7. Maintain hydration and monitor swelling; use pen to mark and time the border of advancing edema often enough to gauge progression
8. DO NOT give aspirin or NSAIDS for pain control
9. Evacuate: if close to trailhead and minor symptoms, slowly walk out; if hours from trailhead or severe symptoms, keep victim at rest with body part at or below level of heart, fill out incident report form and send someone for help


Edited by jshannon (01/21/08 04:12 AM)

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#120820 - 01/19/08 08:29 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: NAro]
xbanker Offline
Addict

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 484
Loc: Anthem, AZ USA
This link doesn't offer any scientific support for the use of charcoal remedies specifically for snakebites (scroll ~3/4 down for How Can Charcoal Be Used On Snakebites?) but does describe a variety of acknowledged uses. Seems like an often overlooked item that would be worthwhile to include in a first aid kit.

This might be the book Bryan was referring to (endorsed by the co-founder of the Uchee Pines Institute, who's also a medical examiner in GA)

_________________________
"Things that have never happened before happen all the time." — Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety

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#120827 - 01/19/08 09:33 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: xbanker]
NAro Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/15/01
Posts: 473
I guess I'm being too rigid here, but for possibly venomous snakebite I'll stick to the current best medical recommendations supported by current medical science. It's too important (for me) to resort to homeopathic or folk remedies unless there is some serious science behind them. Looking at the citations in these references, I remain unconvinced:

Charcoal Remedies by John Dinsley:
How Can Charcoal Be Used On Snakebites?
For snakebites, charcoal adsorbs the hemolytic substance of the snake venoms (one that destroys red blood cells). Only about 25% of poisonous snakes bites are venomous. Swelling begins within 10 minutes. If swelling occurs then venom has entered the body. Immediately after a bite submerge the area in cool charcoal water for about 30 minutes to one hour, with one half cup of charcoal to about two gallons of water. Cover the area with a large charcoal poultice and change every 10-15 minutes until swelling and pain are gone. Take charcoal by mouth as well. Take about 2 large tablespoons in a half glass of water every 2 hours for 3 doses. Take one small spoonful every 4 hours for the next 24 hours. Each charcoal dose should be followed by 2 glasses of water.

This remedy should work fine in 75% of snakebites. Otherwise, someone please educate me - how does topical charcoal (in the soak, or in the poultice) catch up with and "neutralize" venom in the lymphatic or venous system. I can't figure it out. And then... how was orally ingested charcoal survive digestion and then overtake the venom in the lymphatic or venous system. Perhaps one of our MD or Paramedic ETS'ers can help me understand this.

And while you're at it... from the same book:
How Is Charcoal Used For Viruses?
The sheep pox and foot and mouth virus and the anthrax virus are adsorbed by charcoal.


How does charcoal get to the intracellular virus? Assuming the authors really meant "adsorb" and not "absorb"..."Absorb" refers to a situation where something is taken into a medium, and disappears as a consequence (from?). "Adsorb" refers to a situation where something gets stuck onto (to?) the surface of a medium. I guess if I suspected a surface was contaminated with anthrax I wouldn't balk at dusting it with activated charcoal. But the next time I get anthrax I'll probably opt for more traditional approaches.

I admit I'm being sarcastic... and I'm not trying to "dis" anyone here. But (back on the point of the thread) in a survival situation I'm going to start with actions having a high probability of success...then probably will devolve down the probability chain even to the point of trying almost anything. I consider the above remedies in life-threatening situations to be the later, not the former. But YMMV.

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#120830 - 01/19/08 09:58 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: NAro]
xbanker Offline
Addict

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 484
Loc: Anthem, AZ USA
Originally Posted By: NAro
...for possibly venomous snakebite I'll stick to the current best medical recommendations supported by current medical science...

Couldn't agree more. I mention inclusion in a first aid kit for its versatility treating less-serious afflictions.

On topic, the link Susan provided has some interesting info. Wonder how problematic it is that the antivenom supplier for Iraq's venomous species is the Inst. d’Etat des Serums et Vaccines Razi in Tehran, Iran.

_________________________
"Things that have never happened before happen all the time." — Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety

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#120834 - 01/19/08 10:11 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: Taurus]
sicily02 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 02/13/07
Posts: 35
Yes that looks like that is one of the books.
Thanks
Bryan

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#120859 - 01/20/08 03:10 AM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: sicily02]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5715
Loc: southern Cal
The Black Hills Institute in Hill City, South Dakota is a really fine paleontological institution, but I doubt they are a medical authority on treatment of snakebite. This poultice jazz is news to me. It probably "works" like so many snakebite cures - the victim survives both the bite and the cure as well. Most snakebites, even untreated, are not fatal; many snakes do not even inject venom, for a variety of reasons.

The most recent Red cross manual that I have seen does away with "cut and suck." I believe a restricting band, not a tourniquet!!, is recommended, but the definitive treatment requires a medical facility and lowered activity before you get there.

Note how heavy the toll of snakebites has been in recent years in the Armed Forces. You have thousands of more significant hazards facing you than snakes.

Cultivate good preventive habits and learn to walk with caution through brush and don't stick your hands in places you can't see clearly.

Year in and year out, honeybees kill more people than snakebite, by far. And if you are in danger of bee induced anaphylactic shock, a Sawyer kit is useless - you need an epinephrine injection. The kit should be with you at all times.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#120870 - 01/20/08 01:59 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: hikermor]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...an epinephrine injection. The kit should be with you at all times. .."

Good point. I have been stung by a jillion bees, never had a reaction. But I have seen others stung and head into anaphylactic shock, and that is not a fun way to go. So I had my dr write me a prescription, and have the sting kit handy at all times. I can not legally inject another person, but depending on the conditions I might chance it. Maybe...
_________________________
OBG

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#120872 - 01/20/08 02:59 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: jshannon]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 837
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: jshannon
Wilderness Snakebite Protocol

1. Scene safety
2. Take photo of snake from 6 feet away if possible
3. Keep victim calm
4. Remove constricting clothing and jewelry
5. Cleanse wound and apply sterile dressing
6. Splint body part as if fractured, in neutral position
7. Maintain hydration and monitor swelling
8. DO NOT give aspirin or NSAIDS for pain control
9. Evacuate: if close to trailhead and minor symptoms, slowly walk out; if hours from trailhead or severe symptoms, keep victim at rest with body part at or below level of heart, fill out incident report form and send someone for help


I heartily agree with the above. It also matches my WFR training. What most people don't think about is the identification of the snake - if it is a common rattlesnake the venom will be painful but probably not life threatening but if you were bit by one of the many deadlier snakes, it's ID would be crucial to administering the correct anti-venom when you get to primary care. From what I understand, anti-venom is stored in a freeze dried form and reconstituted for immediate single shot use. It is usually species specific but there are some polyvalent types of anti-venom as well. (Please correct me if I'm wrong).

Something that I picked up from the Google video by Robert Nielson is that immature snake MAY inject you with more venom than an adult because they haven't yet got the ability to moderate the amount. A snake ID picture may also help you in identifying that potential.

FWIW, I think some spiders like the brown recluse are much more deadly than a typical rattlesnake but then I've never been bitten by either.

[Ever watch Snakes on a Plane? There are SO MANY things wrong with that show, I don't know where to begin... BUT it is hilarious entertainment!]

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#120897 - 01/20/08 09:55 PM Re: Immediate action for a snake bite? [Re: Taurus]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
See the FDA's page:
http://www.fda.gov/Fdac/features/995_snakes.html

What not to do, according to the page:
No incisions in the wound
No tourniquets
No ice or other cooling of the wound.

The page has information on what to do till quick help arrives and what to do if you can't get help for hours.

One expert says,
Quote:
"In the past five or 10 years, there's been a backing off in first aid from really invasive things like making incisions," says Arizona physician David Hardy, M.D., who studies snakebite epidemiology. "This is because we now know these things can do harm and we don't know if they really change the outcome."

So you may be seeing out of date advice regarding tourniquets (now uniformly rejected in all sorts of wounds), incisions, and sucking.

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