Snake Bite Kits Can Cause More Tissue Damage than Good!
Please Stop Buying these Snake Bite Kits online, and elsewhere – they can end up KILLING YOU, or causing extensive damage that may not have resulted without their use.
Seriously, please stop. Welcome to 2019-2020.
I remember finding ads in magazines and comic books for snakebite (snake bite) kits for use in the treatment of venomous snakebite. The kits are not expensive, and because so many people are scared out of their minds about a snakebite, they buy the kits out of fear and trust that they work.
If you use a snake bite kit and cut near or on the snake fang puncture mark, or attempt to suck out the poison with a plunger that creates a negative pressure at the bite site – you can do severe damage to yourself in the case of a bite by snakes with cytotoxic venom.
Yep. Thirty years ago or more, these kits were sold worldwide as the cure for snakebite. In the years since, science has come to the conclusion that you should NEVER cut near the snake bite, nor attempt to vacuum (or suck out) the venom from the bite.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A SNAKE BITE KIT IS DANGEROUS?
There is NO SUCH THING as a helpful snakebite kit that involves razor blades, medicine, or suction devices. THROW THEM AWAY. The world of medicine has come to the conclusion that using these kits can cause damage at the bite site, and deeper for a number of reasons.
- Cutting at the Bite Site – BAD. When you cut into your tissue, you’re exposing more tissue and blood and blood vessels (veins) which the venom can affect (destroy). Cutting into your flesh can cause more extensive damage in the case of snakes with cytotoxic venom. DON’T DO IT!
- Sucking Venom Our with Your Mouth – BAD. Your mouth is one of the dirtiest, most bacteria-filled places on the planet. Putting your mouth on a snakebite can increase the chances dramatically that you will have a secondary infection in addition to the damage caused by the venom. This is a very dangerous practice. DON’T DO IT!
- Sucking Venom Out with Suction Devices – BAD. First off, it doesn’t work to remove any significant amount of venom. You’re wasting time. Secondly, and much more important is that you’re applying negative pressure inside the bite site and spreading the venom within the tissue, while also destroying some tissue – and allowing the venom to cause more damage as a result. DON’T DO IT!
Top Venomous Snake Resource Advises Against Snake Bite Kits
One of the TOP VENOMOUS TREATMENT ORGANIZATIONS IN THE WORLD – TOXINOLOGY.com LISTS THESE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INITIAL SNAKEBITE TREATMENT. Note #2 and #6. These show up in all venomous snake bite recommendations for every snake in the world, not just for the snake shown.
Treatment Recommendations (reference page)
1. After ensuring the patient and onlookers have moved out of range of further strikes by the snake, the bitten person should be reassured and persuaded to lie down and remain still. Many will be terrified, fearing sudden death and, in this mood, they may behave irrationally or even hysterically. The basis for reassurance is the fact that many venomous bites do not result in envenoming, the relatively slow progression to severe envenoming (hours following elapid bites, days following viper bites) and the effectiveness of modern medical treatment.
2. The bite wound should not be tampered with in any way. Wiping it once with a damp cloth to remove surface venom is unlikely to do much harm (or good) but the wound must not be massaged.
3. All rings or other jewelry on the bitten limb, especially on fingers, should be removed, as they may act as tourniquets if edema develops.
4. The bitten limb should be immobilized as effectively as possible using an extemporized splint or sling; if available, crepe bandaging of the splinted limb is an effective form of immobilization.
5. If there is any impairment of vital functions, such as problems with respiration, airway, circulation, heart function, these must be supported as a priority. In particular, for bites causing flaccid paralysis, including respiratory paralysis, both airway and respiration may be impaired, requiring urgent and prolonged treatment, which may include the mouth to mask (mouth to mouth) technique of expired air transfer. Seek urgent medical attention.
6. Do not use Tourniquets, cut, suck or scarify the wound or apply chemicals or electric shock.
7. Avoid peroral intake, absolutely no alcohol. No sedatives outside hospital. If there will be a considerable delay before reaching medical aid, measured in several hours to days, then give clear fluids by mouth to prevent dehydration.
8. If the offending snake has been killed it should be brought with the patient for identification (only relevant in areas where there are more than one naturally occurring venomous snake species), but be careful to avoid touching the head, as even a dead snake can envenom. No attempt should be made to pursue the snake into the undergrowth as this will risk further bites.
9. The snakebite victim should be transported as quickly and as passively as possible to the nearest place where they can be seen by a medically-trained person (health station, dispensary, clinic or hospital). The bitten limb must not be exercised as muscular contraction will promote systemic absorption of venom. If no motor vehicle or boat is available, the patient can be carried on a stretcher or hurdle, on the pillion or crossbar of a bicycle or on someone’s back.
10. Most traditional, and many of the more recently fashionable, first aid measures are useless and potentially dangerous. These include local cauterization, incision, excision, amputation, suction by mouth, vacuum pump or syringe, combined incision and suction (“venom-ex” apparatus), injection or instillation of compounds such as potassium permanganate, phenol (carbolic soap) and trypsin, application of electric shocks or ice (cryotherapy), use of traditional herbal, folk and other remedies including the ingestion of emetic plant products and parts of the snake, multiple incisions, tattooing and so on.