SurvivalMedicineBlog

surviving without the doctor

Snake Bite! What to do BEFORE Help Arrives or Just in Case

snakeSnakebites…ewww…those slithery things that make up nightmares (think Snakes on A Plane) but anyway, shiver. I live out in rattlesnake country (along with copperheads and water moccasins…joy) and on top of that, average response time to a 911 call for help can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minute, and that is under good circumstances. And a hospital? At least ½ hour away…paramedics don’t have anti-venom… So, being the person I am when I first moved out to the country I did my homework on how to handle a potentially unpleasant snake bite until I can get professional help. Copperhead bites are rarely fatal, but the timber rattlesnake and water moccasin snakes can cause all sorts of problems including anaphylactic shock. If you ever are bitten by a snake, seek help immediately!

Please note: I am not a ‘trained’ medical professional. All information I provide is for informational purposes only and not intended to treat nor diagnose. ALWAYS get professional help as soon as possible!

Short story time: Last year my dog Maggie, a Pitbull was barking furiously, I go out to investigate and what did I hear? That good ole’ rattle sound…that is a sound you will NEVER forget…thank goodness the snake was on one side of the wooden fence and she on the other. The year before that I was pleasantly surprised (sarcasm included and dripping) by a timber rattler sunning itself on the bottom step of my side porch…needless to say I used the backdoor instead.

Earlier this year my husband and I were out fishing early one morning…yep, guess what we almost stepped all over? And guess what I was wearing for shoes? Never mind, its embarrassing but what can I say? Wake me up at 5 am to go fishing and I probably ain’t smart enough yet But there was a nice copperhead hanging out in the vegetation. I went home that day and bought a good pair of snake boots…never leave home without them now. I have also had the pleasure of scaring a copperhead who was sunning itself near my wood pile, half under it… (I burn wood for the winter)…so I know what is in my yard!

Anyway, my point is that I live in snake country, they are here and I can only do so much to protect me and mine from them (and lest I forget, we have about 6 different types of other snakes who would leave a nasty bruise, one is a nice King Snake that likes to hang out across the garden path, huge thing! But he doesn’t even blink at us nor a dog for that matter we walk back and forth and around him all day long, I am thinking of naming him).

Prevention becomes your biggest friend in avoiding a snake bite.

If you live in snake country and do a lot of outdoor activities, get some snake boots, even for the kids. Barring that, there are other ways to ‘pad’ your lower leg and they do make some sort of snake protection that ties on to your leg.

Wear heavy leather work gloves when working outside. Something is better than nothing.
Pay attention to your surroundings, most especially what is UNDER your feet or where you are sticking your hand.

Don’t try to pick up a snake with your hands (my one daughter is infamous for picking up any and every living thing she finds outside…needless to say she no longer does it to snakes nor spiders after a bit of ‘home schooling’)

Try and keep brush piles gone from around your home and where your kids play.

VaCreepinOutdoors has written and excellent blog about keeping yourself safe from snakes in the great outdoors. You can find that here.

Snake Bites
Snake venom acts as a hemotoxin, damaging blood vessels, or a neurotoxin, affecting the nervous system. Rattle snake, copperhead and water moccasin venom is considered hemotoxic; whereas the coral snakes’ venom is more neurotoxic. Nevertheless, snake venom can affect one or more body systems.
Bites from a rattle snake can causes immediate and extremely painful swelling at the site. This is very characteristic of this group. It can involve the destruction of blood vessels resulting in abnormal coagulation or blood flow. The tissue around the site becomes bruised in a few hours and can become necrotic with time, turning purplish-blue.

The symptoms of snake bites may vary from being mild to acute. Symptoms of snake bites are conditional on the species of snake, the amount of venom injected as well as the age of the victim, normally all such victims are likely to experience the following conditions after a snake bite:

Blood loss from the wound or bruise caused by snake bite
Burning sensation of the skin around the affected area
Cloudy or confusing vision
Seizures or spasm
Diarrhea or dysentery
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Too much perspiration
Unconsciousness
Marks of snakes fangs on the skin
Rise in body temperature or fever
Enhanced thirst or feeling thirsty despite intake of sufficient fluids
Lack of muscle coordination
Queasiness and vomiting
Fast pulse rate
Debility or general feeling of weakness
Lack of sensation (numbness) and tingling
Death of tissues in the affected area
Acute pain
Swelling at the place of the snake bite
Systemic poisoning includes excessive salivation, vomiting which can lead to hypotension and shock. These symptoms can happen very quickly and if severe, can lead to death on average at about 48 hours. Get help!
It is very important to remember that in children symptoms can become life threatening very quickly. Please make sure you know CPR!

First aid

It is very important for anyone who lives in ‘snake’ country or who camps/hikes/fishes in snake country to know the basics of first aid ‘just in case’ a bite happens. Knowing what to do BEFORE you can get to professional help (which could be hours away) may save your life or someone else’s:

First things first…get a plan, have a plan and be prepared it helps with the first ‘do’:

Stay CALM! It is important that the bite victim remains as calm as possible. If you are bit getting anxious and upset will send your heart rate up which increases circulation. Not to mention how adrenaline works on the body which may cause you or them to do something no so smart. Aconite 30c works best at this point.

Limit the movement of the person who has been bit as much as possible. Again, this is to slow down the venom movement in the blood stream.

DO NOT raise the bite wound above the heart, keep it as low as possible from the heart even if its squirting blood out (this is actually a good thing as venom will come out with the blood)

The wound should be treated like all other wounds. A Sawyer Extractor® for venom extraction is a proven method for reducing the venom from entering the system. This is actually the ONLY approved device approved for extracting venom of all types including bees, wasps and snakes.

Get rid of all rings or other items that may cause constriction since the area around the snake bite will swell.

Remember, the area of the snake bite will gradually swell and become discolored if the snake that bit the victim is venomous.

If you can, keep an eye on the vital signs of the victim, including pulse rate, pace of breathing, body temperature and blood pressure.

If you begin to see signs of shock in the bite victim, have them lay down.

Seek immediate medical help. It is important not to waste any moment after a person has been bitten by a snake.

What NOT TO DO:

Never apply a tourniquet or strap near the area where the snake has sunk its teeth.

Don’t make the victim become over-exerted. Carry the victim to a safer place, if it is deemed necessary.

Avoid applying any type of cold compresses to the affected area.

Don’t incise the area of the snake bite with a razor, knife or any other sharp object.

Never try to suck the snake venom out of the victim’s body with your mouth.

Don’t give anything to the snake bite victim to eat or drink.

Don’t elevate the affected area above the level of the person’s heart for it may increase the flow of venom to the heart.

Don’t give the victim any medication, either painkillers or stimulants, these could mask serious symptoms that a doctor/trained professional will need to see in order to asses the bite victim.

So now what? What can you do YOURSELF while you wait for help or are trying to get to help? There are a few that can be used to help you, your furry friend or two legged friend until you can get professional help:

Get and USE A Sawyer Extractor® for venom extraction, follow direction on the package.

Wash and clean the wound as best as possible and keep it as clean as possible. Personally I keep Tea Tree Essential Oil on hand to use after traditional cleansing. Use Tea Tree Essential Oil on and around the wound (about 6 inches diameter). I also keep helichrysum essential oil on hand for wounds.

If you have it handy, use Bromelain (which is a dietary supplement easily found at many stores with a good selections of vitamins) 1000mg as soon as possible after the bite. If need be use 1000mg per hour until you can get help. The snake venom molecule (and most snake and insect bite venoms) are composed of three-dimensional, nearly 100% pure, protein. The strongest known natural solvents for protein molecules are bromelain and papain. Bromelain can be used after you have been released from the hospital too…500mg 8 times a day.
(http://phoenix.about.com/cs/desert/a/snakebite_4.htm)

Goldenseal capsules or tincture. 1 tsp immediately after bite and then 20 drops (or 500mg if using powder) 6 times a day. Until you can get help or after returning home.

Echinacea. This famous natural herb stimulates the immune system. It is mentioned as a snake bite remedy in many older herb books. 1000 mg immediately if using powder or 1 tsp of tincture. Take every 20-30 minutes until you reach help (or until you see swelling and bruising subsiding) after that…8 times a day for 10 days (past 10 days Echinacea is no longer effective).

Yellow dock can be used to alleviate symptoms until you can get professional help. Drink a cup of yellow dock tea or take 2 capsules of yellow dock every hour until the symptoms are gone.
(http://medicinalherbinfo.org/diseases/Snakebite.html)

Soak and wash wound in activated charcoal until you can get help or until signs are gone. There have been some people who have taken activated charcoal by mouth as directed on the bottle to help also. Activated Charcoal should also be taken by mouth, in the quantity of approx. 2 Tbsp. every 2 hours, for 3 doses, and 1 tsp. every hour for 24 hours. Each dose should be followed by 2 glasses of water.
(http://articles.herballegacy.com/snake-bites/)

Black Cohosh (aka Snake Root) applied as a salve or paste to the wound until you can reach help. May also be used as a tincture to help with pain (especially ‘cramping’ like pains).

Now to my favorites because they are easy to take with you into the woods, cheap and last a long time!

If you choose to use homeopathics give every 10 minutes and then back off as symptoms subside. 5 pellets every 10 minutes, then every 20, then every 30 minutes, etc. until you can get professional help. With homeopathy, you are looking at signs and symptoms someone is displaying or MIGHT and then giving the appropriate remedy. If after 3 doses of a given remedy you do not see improvement, then choose another one.

Aconite is beneficial in any situation that causes emotional trauma or hysteria. This remedy is also beneficial for any responder that is in a panicked. THIS IS THE FIRST REMEDY TO GIVE. I carry this with me everywhere!

Apis is useful in reducing an allergic reaction from the insect poisoning and snake venom. It may be used to help reduce the likelihood of anaphylaxis shock or used if the animal is having difficulty breathing.

Arnica is used first for any trauma. It will help minimize the symptoms of shock and the soft tissue damage from the bite.

Crotalus hordius, a homeopath remedy derived from the rattlesnake venom, has shown benefits with doses at 15 minute intervals. Poor circulation and hemorrhaging may be occurring at the bite site.

Hypericum could be used when the bite results in extreme pain especially nerve related pain. Rattle snake bites are known to be very painful and Hypericum just might help.

Lachesis, derived from the Bushmaster snake, is used for bite wounds that turn purplish-blue. There venom results in poor circulation with dark blood that does not coagulate easily. It may help prevent septic (shock) complications.

Ledum is best known for any puncture wounds. It should be given first, after Arnica, for any punctures that might cause infection or pain. The wound area may twitch and feel cold but not always. There may be great swelling and inflammation.

There are a number of other homeopathic remedies to help combat the affects of a poisonous snake bite that should be considered. Belladonna would be useful if the animal or person is restless or delirious with dilated pupils. A sudden, high fever may occur due to the toxins in the system.

Cedron is another rattlesnake remedy.

For any snake bite I would give one dose of Aconite to help them calm down (heck, I would take a dose myself!) Then if I had it on hand while waiting for help or getting to help I would give one dose of arnica, then every 15 minutes rotating, hypericum, then cedron then ledum. Personally I always carry Crotalus hordius…use every 15 minutes until you reach help. And ONE dose of Lachesis 1M.
I understand this seems like a lot to carry with you but I promise, its not! The tubes are very small and light weight and can be used for many other health challenges, not just snake bites!

According to Dr.Eileen Nauman, DHM, DHom(UK) in her book ‘Poisons that Heal’ pg. 83
Snakebite
On the way to the emergency room:
If the skin around the bite becomes purple-red or purplish looking; seepage of dark blood, Lachesis 30c every 5 minutes
Rapid swelling and and bleeding under the skin around the bite, discolored flesh, and the person is extremely sensitive to be jarred or moved: Crolatus Horridus 30c every 5 minutes
Shallow breathing, band around the head sensation, face congested looking with a pale nose and mouth, vomiting, weak pulse (systemic poisoning)Carbolic Acid 6c

She also recommends for ANYONE who is outside a lot or hikes/camps a lot to keep Lachesis 1M in their first aid kit just in case of snakebite. Take one dose every 10 minutes until you reach help.

Being prepared in an emergency could save your life. As someone who lives in area with 3 types of poisonous snakes, spends quite a bit of time outdoors and is far away from help, I like to have a back up plan and this is it until I can reach help.

Hope this helps you prepare! Be safe and be aware that is always your first line of defense…but just in case…
survivingshtfmom

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September 30, 2014 - Posted by | Essential Oils, Herbs, Homeopathics, Medical Conditions, Self-Help | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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