If you are a hiker or anyone who enjoys the outdoors, being bitten by a rattlesnake is a small, but definite possibility. In these situations, its best to have an effective treatment option. This is where a DIY rattlesnake bite kit comes in. But what to include in it? Find out below.
Creating Your Own Rattlesnake Bite Kit
Making your own rattlesnake bite kit is definitely possible, and can provide you with all you need to treat a bite wound. It should also be not too expensive to put together. You can find all the components you need online.
What Kind of Container?
You can use a container made of the following materials for a rattlesnake bit kit:
Make sure the rattlesnake bite kit is in a light and small container that you can carry with you on your excursions through the outdoors.
Can you use a bag or pouch for a DIY rattlesnake bite kit? Yes, but make sure it is a thick, strong material that is waterproof.
Leather or nylon will work with a zipper or clasp, as will plastic, metal, or wood.
What Medical Supplies Does a Rattlesnake Bite Kit Need?
A good rattlesnake DIY bite kit will have a number of different medical supplies, each for a specific use. These should include:
- A venom extractor
- Suction pump
- CPR face Shield (optional)
- Different sized suction cups
- Alcohol prep pad
- Adhesive bandages
- Razor or disposable scalpel
- Antiseptic wipes
- Ammonia inhalants to wake up the victim
- Sting wipes
- Lymph constrictor
- Gauze pads to clean and cover the wound (3×3 or 2×2 inch)
- A sharpie pen to mark the bite area
Having a suction pump and different-sized retrieval cups will allow you to extract venom from different areas of the body. You may need a larger cup, or a smaller cup to get the venom out.
You can use the tourniquet to stop blood circulation which will help prevent the venom from moving throughout the body. However, this is only recommended immediately prior to using the suction pump. Tourniquets should never be tight enough to block the flow of blood completely, as rattlesnake venom has a tissue destroying compound that could kill the tissue in the bite area (necrosis).
Using ice to treat the wound can have the same effect as using a tourniquet and cause additional tissue damage in the area. It is best to let some of the venom to seep through the body to dilute it.
Key Components and Sizes
The container should be small and compact enough to fit inside a pouch or backpack. It should be light in weight and easy to handle. It can also fit inside another first aid kit if it is the right size. Ideal sizes for the box or container are 3-6 inches in length and width and 2-3 inches in depth.
Do not leave any critical components out of the kit just to save space. It should also not weigh more than 2 pounds fully stocked.
Knowing When To Use a Rattlesnake Bite Kit
You should be familiar with all the parts of a snake bite kit and how to use them before you head out into the woods. Trying to figure it out in a panic after a rattlesnake attack is a bad idea.
The best course of action is ALWAYS to get the victim to the hospital as fast as possible. If you are within a half day or less of a hospital DO NOT delay just so you can use a snake bite kit.
Even if you manage to use the snake bite suction tool, it may not work very well. The amount of venom extracted might be so little that it does not stop the victim from becoming sick. If you rely entirely on the snake bite kit to treat a rattlesnake bite, it could cause substantially greater harm or even death.
Snake bite kits must be used almost immediately after the bite to be effective. The venom extractor only works well if it is used immediately after the rattlesnake bite happens (within minutes). This will allow it to suck out the localized venom before it moves throughout the limb. After 5 minutes the venom pump will be ineffective.
Where To Use a Rattlesnake Bite Kit
Rattlesnake bite kits work best on these areas of the body:
If you use the venom extractor on a large leg muscle area, it will be neffective because leg muscles have a large blood supply that will absorb all the venom. If the bite happens in an area of the body that is low on muscle, this is where a snake bite kit can work.
How to Use a Rattlesnake Bite Kit
After a bite happens on a fellow hiker, make sure to move yourself and the victim to safety so you don’t get a snake bite yourself. Try to keep the patient calm during this process as it can help slow the spread of the venom.
Select the size suction cup that fits the wound area. Do not use the suction pump for more than 15 minutes as this can cause damage to the surrounding area.
Use the antiseptic wipes to clean the area afterward and apply a bandage to the bite wound.
After you treat the bite wound, dial 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately.
Once the situation is resolved, clean the suction pump and cup thoroughly to rid it of any venom or bacteria. Also make sure to follow the cleaning instructions for the plunger so as not to ruin it. Or simply throw the pieces away and replace them.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.