1. Join the Camping Babble forums today and become an active member of our growing community. Once registered you'll be able to exchange camping photos, stories and experience with other members. If you're still undecided, feel free to take a look around and see what we're all about!

All About Snakebites and Importance Of Having A Snakebite Kit

Discussion in 'Nature' started by 2sweed, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    While venomous snakes that are found in the USA, are not generally aggressive and most often do not strike unless disturbed, it easy to get careless while in snake country and forget to watch where you are putting your feet and hands. This especially is important when climbing rocky ledges, as this is a favorite resting place of snakes. Also turning over rocks and logs with bare hands can invite trouble.
    In snake country the feet and legs are the most vulnerable to snakebite. It is a good idea to wear some sort of protective clothing like snake-proof boots or canvas leggings.

    A snake might strike from any position with lightning fast speed. the pit vipers carry two hollow fangs in their upper jaw with which they inject venom. These fangs puncture the skin of the victim and the venom is forced from the glands in the head and squirted through the fangs. The coral snakes have fangs set back in the mouth and to get poison into prey they seize it and chew on it. Coral snakes are timid, and rarely bite, but their venom is deadly.

    There are two types of venom. The neurotoxin and hemotoxin. Neurotoxin attacks the nervous system and a small amount can kill a person. Hemotoxin attacks the bloodstream and a larger amount is required to cause death. In the USA, the neurotoxin type dominates only the venom of the coral snake. Although, all poisonous snakes contain some of both types of venom.

    Fortunately, the pit vipers, which are far more common and often bite more efficiently, carry the less dangerous hemotoxin. If a non-poisonous snake bites you there will be no terrible pain, but if a poisonous snake bites you, you will know it. The poison of the coral snake causes severe pain, but little swelling. The venom of all the pit vipers quickly cause swelling and discoloration in the area of the bite. Weakness and dizziness usually follow and shock is very common.

    What should you do if you are bitten by a poisonous snake?
    First off try not to get excited. Sit down and don't start for camp or take a slug of whiskey. Reason is both alcohol or physical exertion can increase the rate of circulation and help to spread the venom. Try to keep the limb immobile and in a lowered position.

    Apply a tourniquet. This is very important and must be done quickly. Use a cord or a handkerchief and tie it between the bite and the heart. It must be tight enough to slow the return of blood to the heart, but not so tight as to stop all circulation through the affected limb. Be sure to loosen the tourniquet for a few minutes to prevent gangrene, every 15 minutes. Get to a doctor if possible now or not, then follow next step.

    Sterilize a knife in a flame and make an incision by making a small cut over each fang mark. Not a X-shape cut, but a single cut parallel to the long axis of your arm or leg. Each cut should be 1/4 " long and 1/8 to 1/4 " deep. Be very careful not to cut into blood vessels or tendons.

    Next apply suction and draw out as much of the venom as you possibly can. You can suck out the blood and venom but only if you have no open sores in your mouth. It is much better to use the rubber suction cup that comes with snakebite kits. Leave the cup on for a few minutes, remove it, and squeeze the venom out, and then use again.

    Then get the victim to a doctor. Still try to minimize his physical exertion by having him carried if possible. The doctor will administer antivenin which is a serum made from the blood of horses that have been immunized to snake venom. This serum is effective in treating the bites of all pit vipers, but not the coral snake bite.

    Always carry a snakebite kit when in poisonous snake country, it is reassuring to have one along, even if you never have to use it.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page