Proj. MicroFAK + Debate on snake bite kits

Discussions of the best (or worst) equipment to have on hand for use in the event of an injury during an emergency.

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Proj. MicroFAK + Debate on snake bite kits

Post by CommonHighrise » Fri Sep 28, 2007 10:30 pm

Building a small, light FAK to take with me on afternoon/one-day hikes. Namely, with my girlfriend, who im trying to slowly re-introduce to the outdoors, hence the name. Its main MO is to take care of any sorts of lesions, punctures, scrapes, burns, etc, that would be encountered on such a hike, as well as being able to handle one "Oh Shit" injury. The bag Im using is a cute little 9"x7"x4" belt-mounted fanny pack.

Contents:

1- Large Kerlix bandage roll.
20- small individual alcohol wipes.
10- 2"x2" gauze pads
1- Snake bite kit with crappy scalpel, suction cups, and topical antibacterial liquid.
1- roll of 1/2" medical tape.
Many all-weather bandaids in assorted sizes.
1- half-ounce bottle of sterile eye drops.
1- fine point tweezers.
10' of duct tape wrapped around old plastic card.

Plans to include soon:

At least 2 sealed small scalpels to replace one in snake bite kit.
Upgrade medical tape to 2".
Single-use packages of burn cream and antibacterial ointment.
Single use packets of extra strength tylenol, Immodium, and benadryl.
Tube of topical Benadryl or similar anti-itch.
Cheap emergency poncho or solar blanket.
Small led penlight.
EDIT: Extra 20' of 1" wide duct tape
EDIT: 6oz waterless hand sanitizer
EDIT: Flat SAM Splint
So please advise. Keep in mind my limited budget, and that this isnt supposed to be anywhere near a hardcore FAK, just something light and totable to take care of minor problems.
Last edited by CommonHighrise on Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by waterborne » Sat Sep 29, 2007 12:11 am

Get rid of the snake bite kit and scapels.
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Post by Ricky Romero » Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:24 am

Since you said you wanted something small, I have the following suggestions:

Only pack the duct tape, ditch the medical tape.
Fewer alcohol wipes
Add a small bottle of hand sanitizer
Ditch the snake bite kit, or just keep the suction device from it
Don't add more scalpels to replenish the ones from the snake bite kit
If you want to include a blade, get a prepackaged scalpel blade (blade only)
Include single dose packs of hydrocortisone and triple antibiotic ointment
Limit the number of adhesive bandages since they can be improvised from the already present supplies
You can immobilize an ankle just as well (if not better) with the duct tape than you can with an ACE bandage
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Post by Caenus » Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:36 pm

duct tape is wonderful.
snake bit kit...hmmm. I wouldn't ditch it as fast as the other guys, but I just recently started carrying one. To my knowledge there are not any snakes in north america that will immediately endanger the life of a healthy adult. You should have several hours to get to help. A friend of mine was bit by a western diamondback about 15 years ago when he was 10-12. He was about 80 lbs. He said it hurt bad, but he was camping. Took an hour and a half to get to hospital and even then they did not seem to be in a big rush to treat him.

I carry one since I hunt in S. Texas and recently saw a snake I could not identify. It occured to me that since I hunt less than 8 miles from the Mexican border I may run across some exotics that were being smuggled across the border and either escaped or were ditched to avoid being caught by border patrol.

I would like to know more about snake bite treatment since I do spend a large amount of time outdoors in both S. Texas and AZ.

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Post by BethDeath » Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:51 pm

I've heard that snake bite kits are crap and usually just do more damage. Once the snake bites, the venom is already in your blood stream...all you can do is get to a hospital.

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Post by CommonHighrise » Sun Sep 30, 2007 3:09 pm

So far, with all the listed items, size or weight havent gotten too bad. For clarification, the scalpels Im adding are lightweigth plastic-handled ones, about 4 inches long, and tuck out of the way in the pen-holders of the pack. These are for more delicate work than my EDC knife.

As for snakebite kits and their functions, I havent heard anything substantial as to their being less effective than just treating the puncture wound. Im sure a light copperhead bite would be safely treatable within 6 hours, Id still use the kit in case it was a very wet bite, just to be sure i could remove as much venom as possible.

Also, would it be worth the weight to include a pair of medics scissors, or will my knife work just as well?

Thanks for the tip on duct tape over ACE Ricky.
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Post by TBear0574 » Sun Sep 30, 2007 3:15 pm

I would recomend a sam splint and a couple triangle bandages(have many uses)

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Post by CommonHighrise » Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:06 pm

Havent used a triangle bandage yet, but Ill pick some up to check out if I spot them.
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Post by FOG3 » Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:36 pm

You're actually defending the snake bite kit...

Get a Sawyer Extractor and replace the cut and suck snake bite kit if you want that capability. Your cut and suck kit doesn't do what you think it does.
Snake bite kits are found in many survival kits, but most are worse than useless. It is best to abide by the classical physician's dictum, "primum non nocere," Latin for "first do no harm." The old fashioned snake bite kits often included can cause additional damage, potentially more dangerous than the snake bite itself, and don't work worth a damn anyway. You cannot suck or drain an appreciable amount of venom from the bite using oral means or cutting into the bite. The traditional "Cutter" kit and its clones, with a razor blade to cut an "X" across the fang punctures and rubber suction cups to suck the blood out, is now universally derided by knowledgeable experts. If you own one, throw it away! Really!

Again, you cannot extract venom by making the requisite cuts and sucking the blood, whether through manual or oral means. If your survival or medical manual still includes such advice (and many older ones do), cross it out or otherwise obliterate it. Leave these dramatic measures to the movies where it is make believe and no one is really hurt.
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If you want topical Benadryl Calagel is one of the options, and I've had good experience with it. I'd suggest considering some stomach meds ala peptobismal and cough drops. I'd also tend to suggest going to 3x3 or 4x4s instead of 2x2s for your gauze pads.

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Post by Gunny » Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:39 pm

Add an ACE wrap and some tweezers.

And PM me your mailing address, I'll trade you some medical supplies for some graphical design work for ZSTX.

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Post by CommonHighrise » Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:41 pm

Defending the snake bite kit because its what Ive been told to do since the dawn of my existance. However, I like the idea and mechanics behind the Sawyer kit, and will be swapping them out when I get the chance. The added benefit of working on bee and mosquitoe stings/bites is a nice benefit, as those are the two things that are prominent in the woods around here come summertime.

However, what exactly is the 'harm' in treating a snakebite the old fashioned way, by making a 1/4" incision over the fang puncture, and sucking and spitting like Jenna Jameson? I know the Sawyer kit is far more effective, but in its absence, why shouldnt I use the old method?
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Post by PAW for President » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:08 pm

Medics, please feel free to kick in with some actual expertise here, but I was told in a first aid class (yes, I know, how prestigious) that the best way to deal with a snake bite (if you're not, you know, a doctor) was to clean the wound, immobilize the area below the level of the heart, & tie a bandage above it to constrict blood flow, treating any other symptoms as they come. I was also told that the whole poison sucking bit was pretty ineffective.

Any professionals have an opinion?

Edit:
CommonHighrise wrote:sucking and spitting like Jenna Jameson?
That's pretty.
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Post by Ricky Romero » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:24 pm

I am not familiar with the Sawyer extractor or it's effectiveness, but the old treatment for snake bites are just a waste of time. The time spent trying to suck the poison out is time that could be spent getting somewhere you can get antivenin. I only suggested keeping a part of it for your girlfriend's peace of mind. It sounded like she's wary of the outdoors, and having a "plan" for every contingency tends to help these types. I'm sure if one of you did get bitten, you'd try your field method and go to the hospital ASAP anyway.

PAW, ideally, you should keep the bitten extremity below the level of the heart and keep the bitten person calm to keep heart rate from increasing which would circulate the poison faster. This could also be accomplished, if possible, by carrying the injured party to medical help. You're not supposed to apply a tourniquet or anything constrictive. And be sure to either take the snake with you (if it's dead) or get a good look at it to describe it to the Docs at the hospital.

Oh, and upon further review, an ACE bandage would be a good addition to your FAK. Duct tape wouldn't allow for the swelling that accompanies ankle injuries (I'm talking non-snakebite here), especially the swelling that will occur when you're forced to keep the limb in a dependent position and/or walk on it. And duct tape won't allow reuse if the wrap becomes too tight. Good call Gunny. But in a pinch, remember the duct tape thing.
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Re: Itty-Bitty-boo-boo-bag, aka Proj. MicroFAK

Post by Citizen Simon » Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:59 pm

CommonHighrise wrote:Building a small, light FAK to take with me on afternoon/one-day hikes. Namely, with my girlfriend, who im trying to slowly re-introduce to the outdoors, hence the name. Its main MO is to take care of any sorts of lesions, punctures, scrapes, burns, etc, that would be encountered on such a hike, as well as being able to handle one "Oh Shit" injury. The bag Im using is a cute little 9"x7"x4" belt-mounted fanny pack.

Contents:

1- Large Kerlix bandage roll.
20- small individual alcohol wipes.
10- 2"x2" gauze pads
1- Snake bite kit with crappy scalpel, suction cups, and topical antibacterial liquid.
1- roll of 1/2" medical tape.
Many all-weather bandaids in assorted sizes.
1- half-ounce bottle of sterile eye drops.
1- fine point tweezers.
10' of duct tape wrapped around old plastic card.

Plans to include soon:

At least 2 sealed small scalpels to replace one in snake bite kit.
Upgrade medical tape to 2".
Single-use packages of burn cream and antibacterial ointment.
Single use packets of extra strength tylenol, Immodium, and benadryl.
Tube of topical Benadryl or similar anti-itch.
Cheap emergency poncho or solar blanket.
Small led penlight.
EDIT: Extra 20' of 1" wide duct tape
EDIT: 6oz waterless hand sanitizer
EDIT: Flat SAM Splint
So please advise. Keep in mind my limited budget, and that this isnt supposed to be anywhere near a hardcore FAK, just something light and totable to take care of minor problems.
More than anything about your first aid kit, it was the tittle followed by the post that I am so impressed it.

Less than a year ago when i came to this forum, people were posting cigarette tin IFAKs, and mostly discussing chapsticks/sunblock and different kinds of bandaids. (Well not literally, but close) Now, someone is packing a microFAK and it is better than most people's 'main' FAK back then. Bravo Zombie Squad.
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Post by Woods Walker » Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:38 am

My advice for a good snake bite kit is don't get tagged in the first place. Look before you pick something up. Look as you step over a fallen log etc. I have run into copperheads and Timber back rattlers. Down south I have seen Cottonmouths and large Eastern Diamondbacks. I am no Herpetologist but here is what I can tell you about these snakes.

Copperhead.

Very hard to see. Also from the few I saw they don't seem to be in a big hurry to get away. Maybe hoping that their rather good camouflage makes them invisible? Who knows? Hard to base anything on only a small number of encounters. But if you pick the thing up or accidentally grab one it will bite. My friend knew an elderly man who died from a copperhead or so they think as they never even seen the snake. He was working under his car and got a bite. He delayed going to the hospital as this person believe his hand got burned on the muffler. Don't ask me how but that is the story told to me. Days later he went but the secondary infection proved more lethal than the initial envenomation. The second copper head story comes from a zoo down the road. There is a park next to it and a child picked up a copperhead thinking it was an escaped snake from the zoo. Lost a finger. I think they envenomate more often than other snakes. Not all bites deliver venom. I don't know the percentage but have heard that often 25% are dry bites. Maybe copperheads are are more prone than the average to hit hard. Or maybe I have no clue. :? Not certain why all bites are not bad but guessing that venom production must take energy and reptiles are the masters of energy conservation. We mammals seem to have taken the opposite evolutionary approach.

Cotton mouth.

Thinking you would really have to work to get a bite. I know the difference between a common water snake and cottonmouth. Swam by them all the time in Florida and they wanted nothing to do with me. As a kid I would pester them and with the exception of the classic threat display they would take off. But I hear the bite is very prone to secondary infections like all of the venomous snakes I have seen use a hemotoxin (spelling?) that destroys vascular systems and surrounding tissue.

Timberback rattler.

Much less common than the copperhead or cottonmouth. Have read that their reproduction is low but don't know for certain. But for whatever reason I only seen 2. Both could have given a rat's ass about me. Being older at the time I gave the critter its personal space and the snake didn't give me any notice.

Eastern Diamond back.

Seen more of them during my time in Florida panhandle. I don't remember the numbers as I was just a kid. But my advice to keep away. This goes for all of the above snake but even more with this one. Maybe I was small but these snakes seemed fucking big. They also seemed very alert. I don't know if they are more or less venoms than the Timberback but considering their size and amount of venom a bite could be lethal and even with anti-venom the tissue damage would be horrendous.

I never saw a coral snake. There are a few more species of rattlers I have never seen like the pygmy. I have heard that the young venous snakes can be more dangerous than the adults as they have not learned to control their venom. Every bite gets the full punch. I can't verify this and hope to never find out. In general I think the risk of snake bite is very very low. It can be made even lower with some commonsense. Don't molest or try and kill one if you blunder into it. I don't think those snake bite kits work. However keep in mind that my medical knowledge generally sucks. Maybe being more relaxed would help slow the venom but this sounds a bit silly as I would be totally freaked out after a bite. :shock:
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Post by FOG3 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:30 am

CommonHighrise wrote:However, what exactly is the 'harm' in treating a snakebite the old fashioned way, by making a 1/4" incision over the fang puncture, and sucking and spitting like Jenna Jameson? I know the Sawyer kit is far more effective, but in its absence, why shouldnt I use the old method?
I shouldn't need to tell a knife fighter enthusiast this. If you're not being a drunken idiot, where you're liable to get zapped is the hand/wrist area or the foot/ankle area because you put you hand/foot somewhere without thinking and freaked the viper out. These areas have a very high concentration of delicate structures and you want to be cutting into it while you're freaking out and probably have lost your fine motor skills to adrenaline? Not to mention you're giving your body extra damage to deal with on top of the hemotoxic/neurotoxic effects of the venom itself, even if you don't knick, slice, or otherwise damage one of those fragile strutures.

A significant portion of snake bites end up being dry, and it's not like you can easily tell early enough to do anything whether it was or wasn't. The Venom is injected through the end of the fang, aka the bottom of the wound and spreads out from there. The suction cups/mouth create too soft of a vacuum to remove a meaningful amount of venom according to everything I've read from an authoritative source. The Sawyer Extractor creating a downright hard vacuum can only draw out 35% of the venom under perfectly optimal conditions, and realistically in practice will be significantly less.

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Post by Tac Medic » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:51 am

Woods Walker makes some good points. Prevention is key. The Sawyer Extractor and "Old Method" DO NOT WORK!!!!!!!!!............wash the wound with fresh water, if you need to move, wrap loosely above the wound with an ace and get help.

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Post by CommonHighrise » Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:35 pm

Doc Simon wrote:Less than a year ago when i came to this forum, people were posting cigarette tin IFAKs, and mostly discussing chapsticks/sunblock and different kinds of bandaids. (Well not literally, but close) Now, someone is packing a microFAK and it is better than most people's 'main' FAK back then. Bravo Zombie Squad.
That actually used to be me, bandaids and a little topical antibacterial ointment at most. But I can honestly say, being around ZS, my survivalist mentality has slowly moved from weapons, to having the right gear on hand for whatever could pop up. As for my MicroFAK's capabilities, it's already above and beyond the large first aid kit that is at my work, with the exception of a neck brace. (However, there are only two people that work in that building who are properly trained in applying a neck brace.)

Good quick info on venomous snakes Woods Walker. To add from my own experience;
Copperheads- Hardest to see in the woods, incredibly plentiful in my area, but a very docile snake, usually only striking when touched or surprised out of no where.
Baby/Juvenile snakes- From the knowledge of my herpatologist friend, yes, the babies are very dangerous, as they are harder to see, but deliver maximum venom with every strike. Also something about their vemon glands creating a purer venom due to a lack of mineral buildup in their system.

FOG3, the areas where I would attempt the sucker method of venom removal would be on my lower legs or forearms, as my feet/ankles are covered by thick boots, and I can honestly say Im too sissy to slice my hand open, partly for the reasons you stated about delicate tissues.

Im going to go on the Sawyer device for my anti venom, if not moreso for bee stings and skeeter bites than snakes. If tagged by a snake, Ill use the Sawyer without cutting, on the chance that it would reduce the potentcy of a shallow and wet bite. Like it was said, this could calm the stress of the victim, as I could tell them I sucked out most of the venom, and we were just gonna make a trip to the hospital to counteract the tiny bit thats in the blood.
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Post by avenger » Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:18 pm

Just a quick thought...
A couple of weeks ago I was refreshing the band aid supply in my work boo boo kit (I used to keep a box of the "extreme lengths" type band aids but used them all or lost 'em" and found that Nexcare is making bandages FROM duct tape in strips about 3/4 inch wide! I split the box in half and put a dozen in my car FAK and in the IB4(tm-Avenger Enterprises, 2007) I keep in my locker at work with the various medical supplies I've found myself in need of at work:
20x Duct Tape band aids plus various other adhesive bandages
2x individual use crazy glue
bottle of Motrin, Aleve and Pepto (in pill form, an ER doc told me that's the best way to administer it for most ailments)
small tube of burn cream (exhaust pipe burns are WAY more painful than steam burns IMHO)
All this fits into a gallon size freezer bag that I keep in my itty bitty locker and I add to it when I have to get something from the car I haven't thought about. It covers day-to-day boo boo's don't really REQUIRE treatment, but more for comfort's sake. Also, since I'm always opening my locker, the clear bag allows me to keep tabs on what's running low and what needs replacing.
Ok, so maybe that wasn't a quick thought...
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Post by CommonHighrise » Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:25 pm

It is against my religion to purchase or use anything using duct tape that is pre-fabricated. It comes direct from the roll, or nowhere.

On that note, keep individual packages of 2"x2" sterile gauze pads on hand. Fold them over, apply to sticky side of duct tape, apply duct tape to wound. Pound for pound will be more multi-purpose than pre-fabricated duct tape bandages.

Or, if youre a real man, use Gorilla tape.
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Post by CommonHighrise » Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:41 pm

So heres what I have assembled so far. It is sans medications, as they will be kept in a seperate belt-pack, so it will be less cluttered in the main bag for emergencies, and easier to get just one dose of tylenol. Shown with my EDC loadout.

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Emercency blanket.
4" ACE bandage.
3 pairs of nitrile gloves in baggy.
4" roll of Kerlix.
Glad trash bag with draw closure.
Two pens and a sharpie.
10' of duct tape.
10 BZK towlettes.
1" medical tape.
6 2"x2" gauze pads.
Rubber snake bite kit tube containing 3 bee sting swabs.
Small LED flashlight.
Hand sanitizer.
NasalCEASE nosebleed stoppers.
Bunch-o-Bandaids.
Saline eyewash.
10 Alcohol wipes.

Not shown: tweezers and medics scissors.

And then the ZS adorned bag it all goes in, along with my multitool, minimag, cellular, zippo, keys, and folder. If you choose to comment on the bags contents, keep in mind that one month ago, my first aid kit was some lip balm, neosporin and a band aid, so I credit all the good/bad in my kit to those in the First Aid forums.
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Post by HurricaneDad » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:01 pm

Forgive me for stumbling in on an old conversation, but Common posted to it today.. :D

Regarding the Sawyer Extractor, Sean Bush, MD, FACEP is perhaps the foremost authority of our time regarding envenomation from spiders and reptiles. He's also the "star" of the show Venom ER" that was shown on TLC.

He's written several peer-reviewed articles and studies about various things concerning snake- and spider-bites as well as scorpion stings. For his professional opinion of various "extractor" devices, take a look at the following editorial.

"Snakebite Suction Devices Don’t Remove
Venom: They Just Suck"
Sean P. Bush, MD
From the Department of Emergency Medicine, Loma Linda
University School of Medicine, Medical Center and Children’s
Hospital, Loma Linda, CA.

[Ann Emerg Med. 2004;43:187-188.]

Edit: I think I'm going to make this a new topic thread, so that it can stand on it's own. Also, I just ordered this editorial from my college library on interlibrary loan. When I get it, I'll scan and/or transcribe it so that I can share it easily.
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Post by Ahkaine » Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:44 am

That Bag looks familiar. Are you possibly suffering from MS? :wink:

I got the same freebee. :)

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Post by Erik » Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:05 pm

Throw in an Israeli bandage. They rock.

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