I have read very few first aid lists which included a snake bite kit. Those that had it also usually had a full SAM splint and crutches. With that said, I figure I know my answer, but I decided to ask anyway. Should I carry one?
I have a Walmart-esque Coghlan’s snake bite kit which consists of a large rubber container which looks like a giant pill but serves as a venom extractor, a sterile scalpel, a nylon cord to serve as a tourniquet, and antiseptic swab. I commonly hike in snake prone areas and have come across numerous Copperheads and Timber Rattlers many times. Each time, I simply walked around them without incident.
My concerns aren’t that I fear snakes, because I really don’t, but that (1) I do most of my hikes solo, and (2) I’m an insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetic and even small medical issues, especially internal and blood or immune system related, can be a big deal.
I’ve had a variety of survival medical training in the past, and in the past this kit would be highly suggested by doctors. Current thinking regarding dealing with a snake bites is to leave it alone and seek professional help which usually ends up being an anti-venom shot and tissue repair since novice scalpel activity is believed to merely hurt the skin more, venom extraction efforts are believed to merely push it further in the system, and tourniquets are believed to merely cut off flow to other parts of your body which you may be using to seek help.
Knowing all this, I still grapple with whether to carry it. It is, by far, the heaviest and most clumsy piece of first aid gear which I carry which is otherwise quite minimal.
If you aren’t a supporter of the kit, what suggestions do you have to minimize risks and further complications of snake bites assuming you get one even with your best efforts to avoid it?