Re: First Aid question - snakebite
Fri, 13 Dec 1996 07:14:51 -0500
You were correct in thinking of not sucking the venom out of the
wound after a snakebite.
Most hikers do not have an appropriate pump nor be properly trained
it its correct use. Pumping can be more damaging then the snakebite
if performed incorrectly. It can cause excessive bleeding and skin
damage; it can raise the victims heart rate (which is the opposite of
what you want); it will add another variable into contaminating the
wound; and delay transporting the victim to an advanced care facility.
Did you ever notice how many of the actors in the old movies still
died after someone used the old "cut open the wound and suck the blood
out" technique. In fact more people have died in the movies from
snakebite than did actually die in real life from snakebites (from one
of my advanced life support training tapes).
Have the victim sit, with the bite site lower than their heart, and
help the victim calm down. If you have water wash the site and cover
with a clean (sterile if available) dressing. Note the markings on
the snake and the time of the biting. If possible have the transport
come to the victim, if not, carry the victim to the transport. Do not
give the victim anything to drink nor move around.
Besides remembering that most venomous snake bites, in the US, will
not kill the victim if the victim remains calm, we need to remember
that scouts will be very excited after being bitten so we must remain
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City