Treatment

FIRST AID First aid measures should never substitute for definitive medical care or delay the administration of antivenom. All patients bitten by a pit viper should be taken to a health care facility. Table.,189-2 lists one prudent approach to first aid. Several first aid products are marketed. The Coghlan's Snake Bite Kit (Coghlan's Ltd.) or similar products should not be used because it contains cups that produce little suction and seal poorly on digits. The blade in the kit or any method of incision can injure digital nerves, arteries, and tendons; incision is not recommended. The Sawyer Extractor (Sawyer Products) suction pump removes venom without incision, producing up to 750 mmHg of suction over a puncture site. The usefulness of this device is unknown, although it has been shown to remove some venom in one animal study. Other useless or dangerous techniques are electric shock and ice. Electric shock treatment of the bite site is mentioned only to be condemned. This dangerous procedure is not effective and has resulted in electrical injuries. Ice-water immersion worsens the injury.

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