Snakebite Treatment Methods

Snakebite Treatment Methods – How to care for a snakebite wound.


Click on the link above to go to and ask Dr. Johnson a question!

I’m fact-checking a piece for a national outdoor magazine. I have several questions about snake bite treatment methods:

  1. Is there any benefit to the "cut-and-suck" method or should we get rid of it altogether?
  2. What is your professional opinion on the effectiveness of suction devices?
  3. Should a responder apply a tourniquet to a snake bite victim?
  4. Should a coldpack be applied to a snake bite victim?
  5. Is marking the edge of the bite to track the swelling helpful to medical personnel?


  1. No, none.  In fact, it could result in an infection, impair healing and the cut could cause an unintended injury.
  2. Useless.  A nice study done a few years ago demonstrated their lack of efficacy.  Their reputation was based on hype and not science.
  3. Never a tourniquet.  For some with neurotoxins, especially the most potent ones found outside of NA, a compression wrap may be helpful.
  4. It will not help and could cause more injury.
  5. Yes, it could be.

Remember all snakes are not the same.  There are different general kinds of toxins. The management of each is directed at the damage or harm that could result


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