b. Avoid Performing Improper Procedures. A number of old first aid
techniques have fallen out of favor. Medical research supports the following warnings:
(1) Do NOT cut and suck. Cutting into the bite site can damage underlying
organs, increase the risk of infection, and does not result in venom removal.
Do NOT use ice. Ice does not deactivate the venom and can cause
(3) Do NOT use electric shocks. The shocks are not effective and could
cause burns or electrical problems to the heart.
(4) Do NOT use alcohol. Alcohol may deaden the pain, but it also makes
the local blood vessels bigger, which can increase venom absorption.
(5) Do NOT use tourniquets or constriction bands. These have not been
proven effective, may cause increased tissue damage, and could cost the victim a limb.
c. Kill the Snake. If a soldier can kill the snake that bit the casualty without
endangering himself, have the snake killed. Transport the snake with the casualty so
medical personnel can identify the snake and administer the appropriate antivenin
quickly. If the snake has escaped, try to obtain a description of the snake.
d. Have Casualty Evaluated by Specialized Medic, if Applicable.
Sometimes, a specially trained and specifically authorized medic will carry antivenin.
Such a medic can administer antivenin if he can positively identify the snake, if the
antivenin is appropriate for the type of snake identified, if the casualty is showing signs
of envenomation (being poisoned by venom), and if a sensitivity test indicates the
casualty is not allergic to the antivenin.
(1) Signs of envenomation are required because the snake may have
exhausted its supply of venom before it struck the casualty.
(2) A sensitivity test is necessary because anaphylactic shock could result if
the casualty has an allergic reaction to the antivenin.
e. Record Treatment. Record a description of the casualty's injury and the
treatment given on a DD Form 1380, U.S. Field Medical Card, and attach the card to the
casualty's clothing where it can be found quickly by other medical personnel.
f. Perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, If Needed. A possible
complication of a poisonous snakebite is respiratory failure. If the casualty stops
breathing, perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If the casualty's heart stops beating,
perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). These procedures are discussed in
MD0532, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.