Submitted: Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 13:39
ThreadID: 13857 Views:2232 Replies:6 FollowUps:10
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recent post on snakes reminded me of something I had wondered. The people I work with that have spent time in africa carry snakebite kits with them this basicly consists of a type of syringe with a cup on the end. The idea is you place the cup over the bite and the syringe sucks the area causing it to bulge out and cause a big hickey. does anyone know anything about there effectiveness? they are certainly not in the first aid book (limblength compression bandage splint etc)
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Reply By: Baz (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 13:59

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 13:59
What happens if you get bitten on the finger or thebleepgod forbid !!!!!
AnswerID: 63589

Follow Up By: Baz (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:02

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:02
If you were'nt friends before ya might be after ?
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Follow Up By: Davoe - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:21

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:21
I know what yopur saying baz - had a mate that was bitten on the johny t while answering the call of nature so I was straight on the radion to the rfds to find out what to do. The answer came through - "you have to suck the venom out". "whats he saying" my mate yelled over. Sorry pal I replied he said you gonna die
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Follow Up By: Bazza - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:29

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:29
If your with me ..... your gona die!
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Reply By: Member - Karl - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:03

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:03
Mate, haven't heard of that one. Our training in the Army is to put on a compression bandage covering the entire limb. Don't wash or clean the wound - so that they can Id the type of snake. Immobilise and get help.

I don't know what good it's going to do by trying to suck out the poison - as it's into the blood stream etc very quickly and in some cases the effect can be almost immediate. All you would be doing is sucking out any residual poison that hasn't been used - which wouldn't be of any effect.
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Follow Up By: Davoe - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:53

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 14:53
yea thats pretty standard. I hadnt heard of it either and when I saw it thought if it acually worked I would have seen 1 here in oz so I put the post up to see if anyone else had heard of it in oz or elsewhere and could coment on whether it had any basis of functionality or whether it was just a product from 3rd world nations derived from the cut'n suck method used in b grade cowboy movies
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Reply By: Surf - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 16:22

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 16:22
We have the most poisonous land snakes in the world and a lot of research has been done on the best form of treatment. As a result techniques here are generally accepted as best practice.

The compression bandage is recognised as the best form of first aid, certainly for our venoumous snakes as it restricts the movement of poison flow through the blood stream.

The cup and suck method goes back to the old days and has long been discounted as an effective first aid technique. I was amazed 20 years ago when I was in the US to see that they were still selling snake bite kits that included razor blades and instruction to cut and suck - like in the old western movies.

Just goes to show how far advanced we are with snake bite treatment. The best place to get bitten by a snake (if there is such a place) is Australia.
AnswerID: 63603

Follow Up By: Davoe - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 17:54

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 17:54
I have just yahhooed snakebite kit and it seems these things are sold by the truckload in us of a which makes me wonder if they have any merit. however on I also uncovered an article from texas dealing with snakebites and along with the aforementioned kit they also advocate the use of a) cut'n suck b)cold compresses and believe it or not c) electric shock (dc) to the bitten area. I would like to think our methods of 1st aid are the best available and I find it strange that other countries choose such different paths or am I being elitist?
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Follow Up By: Baz (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 20:48

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 20:48
Who would take notice of snake bit kits from a country that has snake round ups for christ sake, what a bunch of boofheads, sorry if i offended any American's in the comments in this post. Just my opinion.

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Reply By: ian - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 18:18

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 18:18
Well Guys,

You are right and you are wrong. there is a lot of issues in snake bite, not just the compression bandage, and if you really go bush you should read up on it.

No movement, no torniquet, etc, and this info is available to you if you want it.

The truth in this discussion is that snakes have evolved differently on different continents, and in Oz we apply a compression bandage that stops the lymphatic return but is not tight enough to cut off the circulation (you should be able to slip 2 fingers under it.) Cut off circulation and you will loose that limb.

In North America and Asia if you have a suction device you use it immediately and do not use compression as the venom produces a powerful local toxin that will kill local tissue if confined by a compression bandage. If help was a long way off you would use compression and pay the price.

If you are bitten by a sea-snake you would use compression, if you make it that long.

There is an excellent survival medicine book which costs around $10 and may save your life. It is called "First Aid and Survival in Mountain and Remote Areas". I think you can locate it thru

One of the 4x4 mags did a medical article last year that was non-sense and could cost lives. I spoke to them, but they didn't care much. Be careful which "expert" you listen to.

It is probably easier not to get bitten.

AnswerID: 63622

Follow Up By: Davoe - Friday, Jun 18, 2004 at 09:41

Friday, Jun 18, 2004 at 09:41
Ta for the info ian, I am well up on the current recognised 1st aid practices for oz. my concern was that these people i work with may waste time using there kits instead of proper first aid. but before i went to them suggesting they throw them in the bin and take with them compression bandages i thought i would try and sort out why these kits were used elsewhere I would imagine the kit is used on rattlesnake bites which is not anywhere nere as venomous as the majority of oz snakes even the humble eastern brown is right up there in the worlds most venomous
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Reply By: Baz (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 19:01

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 19:01
Davoe i think if you took this snake bit kit to any of the first aid trainers be they ambo's St John's, Red Cross any emergency ward, they would need first from laughing so hard !! Maybe back when first was just starting this type of kit was the norm, i remember my fathers snake bit kit, it was a wooden cylinder that pulled apart to reveal a little knife with some stuff in the handle to put on the wound after you cut it, being a stockman thats what you carried back then.

Baz, ya can take the boy out of the bush but ya can't take the bush outa the boy.
AnswerID: 63629

Follow Up By: Rosco - Bris. - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 19:59

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 19:59
Yep ... that stuff was "Condy's Crystalls" ... potassimum permanganate.

Stuffed if I know what good it would do..but there ya go.
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Follow Up By: Baz (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 20:40

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 20:40
Good for clearing up rashes and tinea, the old mans skin was that tuff i think the snake would of needed first aid after biting him. AID was the word missing a couple of times in my post, i enjoy a beer after work !!!

Baz, short for Bazza.
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Reply By: Member - Brian B (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 22:32

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 22:32
Hi Davoe,

Take Carl's advice as he is spot on for current Australian treatments.

In Queensland ambulance vehicles snakebite kits are very simple and consist of three or four broad conforming bandages and that is all.

In the old cut and suck days there were a number of deaths of people trying to carry out this treatment so you ended up with two patients instead of the initial one.

AnswerID: 63673

Follow Up By: Member - Ivan (ACT) - Friday, Jun 18, 2004 at 07:04

Friday, Jun 18, 2004 at 07:04
Hi Brian,

That brings back a memory!! In 1989 I was in Namibia (South West Africa), and was having tea with this dude at his house - we had met him in the street and he was being hospitable..

He bought out this new 'invention' of his, which he was about to market. Exactly as you describe, and he gave me one to take home.. Luckily I haven't needed it. In fact, I'm not even sure where it is now - I have a broadband bandage in the car ;-) But... Having seen it, and played with it, I'd give it a go - it had that much suction it even removed lightly ingrained splinters!

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