Experts discourage using snake bite kits - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Experts discourage using snake bite kits

(Source: CBS) (Source: CBS)
(Source: KFDA) (Source: KFDA)
Thomas Martin, Medical Director of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center Thomas Martin, Medical Director of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Snakes are coming out of hibernation and experts are encouraging people not to use snake bite kits. 

Within the past 30 days, ten snake bites have been reported to the Texas Panhandle Poison Center Network. And those cases are expected to increase. 

"We're starting to see rattlesnake bites being reported to poison centers throughout the state, including the one that occurred this weekend," said Thomas Martin, Medical Director of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center.

Now experts are encouraging people who have been bitten by snakes to avoid popular self treatment methods like snake bite kits to remove the venom from their bodies. 

"I think there's a consensus among medical toxicologists to avoid things that are harmful in terms of first aid, those things include cutting and sucking with your mouth," Martin said. "Cutting can make the wound worse and if it's not cut properly you might end up with more tissue necrosis, and then putting your mouth -- which is full of bacteria -- on the wound and contaminating the wound while you're trying to suck out the venom. It's usually too late to get any of the venom out."

Doctors urge people to stay away from other methods such as ice therapy and tourniquets. 

"They're not recommending ice therapy and they are not recommending tourniquets for rattle snake bites, which is a vast majority we see here in the state of Texas."

Martin said using these methods can lead to other health problems.

"If you happen to be lucky enough to get out some venom, you [may] have some sores in your mouth or have some dental problems," Martin said. "You may actually see some local envenomation in your mouth from the bites, so if you're early enough it may cause you problems if you're too late all you're going to do is infect the wound," Martin said. 

Experts said if you do get bitten by a snake you should elevate the wound, wash it with soap and water, and call for help. 

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