poisonous snake bite

Explorer127

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I've always been told just to have the pt calm down, and do nothing else, but the logical thing to me would be to apply a tourniquet and ice...what do u guys think?
 

ffemt8978

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I've always been told just to have the pt calm down, and do nothing else, but the logical thing to me would be to apply a tourniquet and ice...what do u guys think?
It doesn't do any good. By the time you could apply those, the poison is already circulating through their system. A tourniquet could cause an unnecessary amputation of the limb.

Treat it like you would any other open injury.
 

BruceD

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Here's a nice little article from the FDA about snake bites, hope it's ok to post it

http://www.fda.gov/Fdac/features/995_snakes.html

This was written at the bottom of the page:

How NOT to Treat a Snakebite

Though US 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 limb.
* No electric shock. This method is under study and has yet to be proven effective. It could harm the victim.
* No incisions in the wound. Such measures have not been proven useful and may cause further injury.
That site has far more info than I could give, but I too had been told not to tourniquet a bite.

Take care!
-B
 

JPINFV

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I believe even the constricting bandage (think tourniquet, but not nearly as tight) is now out of favor. The problem is that there is no good treatment. If you keep the poison from circulating then you've just concentrated it at the site of injection causing more local damage. Similarly, allowing it to circulate isn't too helpful either.
 

TKO

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Call Poison Control and they will advise you appropriately.
 

Ops Paramedic

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I would also not apply a tourniquet (for the same reasons already mentioned), or ice. A lot of the treatment depends on how long ago the patient was bitten. Definatly agree with calm and reasure and decrease movement by the patient self (To slow the heart rate as far as possible, to decrease the rate of spread).
Another important aspect of that will impact on the treatment of the patient in hospital, is to identify the snake. Try and take photgraph, if it still around and you're not in danger, or catch if you have the expertees available, this will allow the hospital to possibly make use of an anti-venom.

I think if you keep the patient still and calm, and treat supportively, you should be OK!
 
OP
E

Explorer127

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see, what im thinking is that if the poison spreads to the rest of the body, the pt's most likely gonna get very sick and die...

but if you apply the tourniquet, then they might just end up losing their arm..
 

JPINFV

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But there's also the other side of it. The venom stays concentrated in the limb and they lose the limb, or the venom is diluted into the rest of the blood and the patient is discharged a few days later no worse for the wear. The possibilities and differences between snake to snake, bite to bite, and person to person are so different that it's just as dangerous to try form a one size fits all treatment plan.
 

MSDeltaFlt

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"Because not all snakebites, including those from the same species, are equally dangerous, doctors sometimes face a dilemma over whether or not to administer antivenin. Venomous snakes, even dangerous ones like the Eastern diamondback, don't always release venom when they bite. Other snakes may release too small an amount to pose a hazard."

Now the Eastern Diamondback is the most poisonous snake indiginous to the US. Even if you got bitten, the snakes just want you to go away, so they're not going to use all of their venom. Mainly because it takes a while to replenish it.

Now that's just in the US. In other countries however, esp. Australia (?sp), you're screwed.:sad:
 
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LucidResq

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In my area, protocol specifically prohibits in bold letters to never apply cold.

EMT-Bs are to assess, mark the time and extent of redness/edema with a pen, remove jewelry, keep the pt. calm and immobilize the bitten part at heart level.

Paramedics are to do all of the above in addition to establishing IV access & cardiac monitoring.
 

BossyCow

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It's my understanding that the fear associated with snake bites is more legend than fact. It takes so long for a snake to refill its venom sacs that they are actually pretty stingy with the stuff. Also, many bites, while nasty and painful, are not fatal.

I've heard elevate but not ice the affected area. Another reason not to ice the site is that some venoms are very destructive to the surrounding tissue, applying ice can intensify the damage.

Tourniquets are just bad. It amazes me how many of these old wives' tales are still circulating in first aid.
 

seanm028

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see, what im thinking is that if the poison spreads to the rest of the body, the pt's most likely gonna get very sick and die...

but if you apply the tourniquet, then they might just end up losing their arm..
I can see how you would draw that logic if you had a tourniquet in your hand and ready to go when the Pt was bitten. However, if I recall correctly (and if someone knows better, please correct me) the heart circulates the body's entire volume of blood in a rather short time. That means that in most cases, the venom will be pumped out of the bite site and through the body before EMS even arrives on scene.
 

mikie

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I was always taught to suck the venom out...

is that wrong?

:p

(This is a good topic, because I was always a little hazy on what to do)
 

BruceD

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ffemt8978

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My guess is the DOH is listing state only fatalities...after all, why would Texas care about what happens in Nevada or other such place?
 

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