This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
When a person has been bitten by a rattlesnake or any other venomous serpent, the following measures should be adopted.
1. Place around the limb, a short distance above the wound, a cord, tying it as tightly as possible. A whip-cord, shoe-string, neck-tie, strap, or anything which can be made to answer the purpose of a ligature, may be used. It should be sufficiently tight to cut off the circulation. This may be accomplished by placing a small stick beneath the cord and twisting it as is shown in Fig. 355.
2. If possible, cut out the bitten part, being sure to include all of the poisoned tissue.
3. If there is no sore, ulcer, or abrasion in the mouth, it will be safe and proper to next proceed to suck the wound, as the poison will do no harm if not re ceived into the circulation.
4. As soon as possible the wound should be cauterized with a hot iron or live coal, or pure carbolic or nitric acid may be applied. To combat the coldness, the patient should be surrounded with hot bottles and warm blankets. Hot tea should also be given to drink. When the heart becomes weak, galvanism over the heart and hot and cold applications to the spine should be employed. There are no known antidotes for the poison after it has been introduced into the sys tem. Alcohol in the form of brandy or whisky has been very frequently shown to be no antidote for the poison. It is possible, however, that in some cases life may be saved by the employment of stimulants as a temporary means of combating the tendency to collapse. If the patient is too weak to swallow hot liquids, stimulants should be injected into the rectum. It should be recollected that many of those bitten are not poisoned, to which fact may be attributed the supposed efficacy of many remedies which have been recommended.
When there is great stupor and numbness, the patient should be encouraged to exercise. When too feeble to exercise, the muscles may be kneaded and manipulated. If the breathing becomes greatly impeded, artifical respiration should be employed. Hot fomentations over the stomach and cold applications to the head are also useful. Drinking considerable quantities of fluid to stimulate the action of the kidneys, and the hot water bath, are measures worthy of recommendation.