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Author Topic: Tourniquet: Bad Advice for a Snake Bite
snopes
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A Tennessee man discovered that Western films aren't a good source of emergency medical advice for a snakebite.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20061005/D8KI5DKO0.html

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Pseudo_Croat
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So, the best thing to do in case of a venomous snakebite is just to leave the bite alone until emergency help arrives?

- Pseudo "get this mofo tourniquet off this mofo snakebite" Croat

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medtchva
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Pretty much Pseudo. You chance forcing the venom deeper into the tissues and causing more damage otherwise.
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asnakeny
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One of the "old western tricks" for snakebite is still relevent (at least, sort of): squeezing the wound to remove the venom (not sucking the venom out, as they do in the movies) can be beneficial. But do avoid the knife and the tourniquet (unless you are specially trained and know how to properly apply it.)

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Zamboni_Rodeo
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I'm somehow reminded of an old joke, the punchline of which is:

--"Tonto, what did the doctor say?"
--"He said you're going to die, Kemosabe."

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Delta-V
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Here's what the FDA has to say.

quote:
Some medical professionals, along with the American Red Cross, cautiously recommend two other measures:

* If a victim is unable to reach medical care within 30 minutes, a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, may help slow venom. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. A good rule of thumb is to make the band loose enough that a finger can slip under it.
* A suction device may be placed over the bite to help draw venom out of the wound without making cuts. Suction instruments often are included in commercial snakebite kits.

Soooo...you're damned if you do, but you might be damneder if you don't, in certain situations.

Anyone with basic first aid should know not to use a tourniquet in that case, and pretty much never, ever, unless the limb is already lost and other methods fail to stop the bleeding.

Delta-"never use a tourniquet for a head wound"-V

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me, no really
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Here in Oz, the standard recommendation is a pressure bandage (not enough pressure to stop blood flow) starting at the bite site and working towards the body centre, combined with immobilisation of the limb - using splints etc if possible. From memory, once the bandage is in place you do not remove it. You let medical personnel do that, because the vemon will spread rapidly afterwards, and you wantthe anti-venom handy.

me

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Linden
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quote:
Originally posted by me, no really:
Here in Oz, the standard recommendation is a pressure bandage (not enough pressure to stop blood flow) starting at the bite site and working towards the body centre, combined with immobilisation of the limb - using splints etc if possible. From memory, once the bandage is in place you do not remove it. You let medical personnel do that, because the vemon will spread rapidly afterwards, and you wantthe anti-venom handy.

me

Here's a website for emergency treatment of bites from Australian snakes:
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=305&id=2313#3

quote:

# The bite wound should not be tampered with in any way.
* For Australian snakes, do not wash or clean the wound in any way, as this may interfere with venom detection once in a hospital.

# All rings or other jewellery on the bitten limb should be removed. They can become very tight if swelling develops.

# If the bite is on a limb, a broad bandage or torn strips of clothing or pantyhose should be applied over the bitten area at moderate pressure (as tight as you would do it for an ankle injury; not so tight that circulation is stopped), then extended to cover as much of the bitten limb as possible, including fingers or toes.
* If the bandage is hurting, it is too tight.
* Go over the top of clothing rather than move the limb by removing clothing.
* Once the bandage is in place, do not take it off. It should only be taken off in an emergency centre.

# The bitten limb should then be kept as still as possible using a splint or sling made of whatever is available.

# Do not use tourniquets, or cut or suck the wound. Those old western movies have a lot to answer for!




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Linden

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Brad from Georgia
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Tourniquets are most effective if applied immediately to the neck of the snake.

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