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Can an electric jolt from a DC source (i.e., spark plug wire, hand-held stunner) neutralize snake venom? I recall a series of articles on this published in the late ’60s by an outdoor magazine. The DC current allegedly polarized the molecules of the venom.
Submitted by – -Dan, Fairfield, OH
It was a great idea that took up a bunch of space in medical journals for several years. The idea emerged from a remote clinic, I think in Ecuador or a similar spot, and the doc there thought electrifying snakebites would indeed neutralize the venom. He published his thoughts. People began doing all sorts of stuff in the field, including using their battery cables when they got back to their vehicles, and saying “Hey, I shocked myself and I didn’t die from the snakebite.” Good thing they didn’t die from the shock!
Anyway, labs started testing the thesis, and no one was ever able to reduce the potency of snake venom (numerous species were tested, by the way) with electricity. So, in short, it doesn’t work. The definitive treatment, the one that always works, is antivenin. In the meantime, stay calm, gently wash where the snake bit, remove anything that could cut off circulation if you swell (like rings and watches), splint a bitten extremity, get to help, and don’t electrocute yourself.—BUCK