Handling a snake bite from a particularly venomous snake means a trip to the Emergency Room. However, there are some home remedies for snake bites that can be used in less extreme cases.
Even those poisonous snake bites can be treated first with activated charcoal at home. It absorbs poison and can help prevent the destruction of red blood cells that occurs because of the venom. In addition, there are certain tips related to charcoal that can be used for specific snakes that can increase your chance of surviving to get to the hospital.
Rattlesnake bites are serious and something to avoid. However, in some cases charcoal can be helpful in treating a rattlesnake bite. One man, who was bitten by a snake and hit with venom only from one fang, dealt with serious pain and a swollen arm (he was bit on the knuckle of one hand). An incision was made near the bite site and a tourniquet was applied. Charcoal was made into a paste and applied to the bite area two hours after the bite occurred. The paste was covered with gauze and a plastic bag. Then the arm was immersed in cold water. Kohosh tea was consumed. By the following day, the swelling was gone and the man returned to full health.
A Russel’s Viper has venom that destroys artery walls and causes internal hemorrhaging. The bite of this snake can be fatal within 48 hours. The snake has an appearance similar to a harmless snake, but it is actually very dangerous. A story of a woman bitten by a Russel’s viper and treated with a charcoal paste was taken to a hospital where there was no anti-venom. The woman managed to survive and recovered to full health with no serious complications from the snake bite. Intitially, this caused her husband to not believe the snake was venomous. However, an expert confirmed that she had been bitten by a Russel’s Viper. The charcoal prevented her death.
A case in Africa involving a snakebite on a woman’s leg caused swelling and pain for the bite victim. When a poultice of both charcoal and cornstarch was applied to the area and a plastic bag covering the area, the pain began to decrease slightly. Added to that treatment (with the poultice being changed every 30 minutes), two teaspoons of charcoal were consumed every 30 minutes for the first hour and then once an hour for the rest of the day. The swelling began to go down after an hour and within two hours, she was able to walk. In days, she was back to full health.
Keep in mind that the success of application depends on the timing. The quicker you apply the activated charcoal, the more efficient it is in helping you to reach medical help if it is available or staying alive if it is not readily accessible.
A frightening statistic in today’s world is that a certain type of anti-venom, Fav-Afrique, is running out. The last batch at Medicins Sans Frontieres expires early in summer of 2016, and there is no comparable treatment to take its place. This particular anti-venom treats roughly 10 types of snake bites in Africa. However, it was priced out of the market and is no longer produced by the company that handled production previously. The production is in negotiation to be handled by another company, but that could leave the world without the medication for as long as two years. Charcoal may be an important item to have on hand in areas prone to venomous snakes.