One of my characters is bitten by a venomous snake - I haven't really specified what kind. Can you think of ANY treatment for snake bite in this situation that would actually be effective? Right now I have them just sort of treating the symptoms - keeping the wound clean, applying snow when it starts to swell, etc.
Are there any more effective things they could be doing, in the absence of antivenin?
Sure. There are a few measures that you can use, depending on how savvy the caregivers are. Right away, first aid measures should be taken as follows:
--Avoid panic—keep heart rate down, keep victim quiet. Most bites are not fatal. In the USA, less than one percent of bites are fatal.
--No ice/snow application. May cause tissue damage.
--No sucking out the venom—this includes older snake bite kits.
--Wash the wound—helps remove any residual venom on the skin, and helps cut down on bacteria. DO NOT use alcohol—this damages the raw tissue in the wound.
--Keep the heart above the wound. Immobilize the extremity (if bitten on extremity)
--Consider carrying the victim. Walking is exercise and will increase heart rate.
--If possible, try to ID the snake. Don’t let the snake get in another bite by trying to catch or kill it.
If you do kill it and transport it, keep in mind the dead snake can still bite for a couple of hours.
It is possible to use a homeopathic remedy if medical help is unavailable or delayed. This isn’t a definitive treatment, but may help.
Plants to treat snake bite:
--Yarrow root—process as above for false aloe.
--Willow bark (from which comes acetyl salicylic acid, also known as aspirin.) Cut into small pieces.
Combine the above and apply directly to the wound as a poultice. Wrap with cloth (strips of clothing, for example).
Over the next few hours there will be a lot of swelling, bruising, and pain associated with the bite. Chewing willow bark may help decrease pain, as can birch bark. Yarrow may numb the wound.
Ultimately, evacuation to a hospital and treatment with antivenin is ideal. Even if it’s a couple of days away, always travel toward the nearest help.
Hope this helps!
~*~Kelly has worked in the medical field for over twenty years, mainly at large medical centers. With experience in a variety of settings, chances are Kelly may have seen it.
Sometimes truth seems stranger than fiction in medicine, but accurate medicine in fiction is fabulous.
Find Kelly’s fiction at www.kellywhitley.com