(1). When one has been struck by a venomous snake, he should waste no time chasing the creature to kill it. Within a minute, at most, he should have a ligature bound between the \vound and his body to cut off the return flow of blood and lymph to the heart. (It is assumed that he has been struck in a limb, as generally happens.) The ligature may be a neckerchief, handkerchief, or a strip of cloth torn from the shirt, twisted, and tied as tightly as possible around the limb. A belt with tongueless buckle is excellent for the purpose. A stout cord will do. If the bite is anywhere below the knee, apply the ligature just above the knee; if below the elbow, then just above the elbow, because here there is only one bone and compression is more effective. Another may be tied closer to the wound if a foot or hand has been bitten.
Do not twist the ligature up so tightly with a stick as to bruise the flesh. Remember, its object is not to compress an artery, but only the veins, all of which lie near the surface.
(2). Make three parallel cuts, say an inch long and a quarter-inch deep, lengthwise of the limb and through the seat of the wound, then two crisscross through the fang punctures (unless the bite be on the wrist or top of foot, where you might sever sinews). This is better than a simple X-cut because it makes the wound bleed more freely and opens it more thoroughly to receive the permanganate. Plenteous bleeding carries out a good deal of the poison by itself. Assist it by squeezing or "milking" the wound. The poison of North American snakes (not of the cobra) is harmless to the stomach, and so it may be sucked out, provided that the operator has no hollow tooth, nor scratch or abrasion of the mouth, through which it might reach the circulation. It is useless to suck merely the tiny fang punctures—you must first cut them open.
(3). Moisten, with saliva, enough of the permanganate to fill the wound (if it is in tablets, crush two or three of them in the palm of the hand) and rub it thoroughly into the cuts. It is extremely caustic; but the emergency calls for heroic treatment.
(4). If you have a companion, send him at once for the anti-venom kit, or for a doctor. If you are alone, and far from help, stay where you are. Moving about would only force circulation and aggravate the case. The chances are fine for your recovery without any further treatment. If you have strychnine, swallow 1-20 grain to stimulate the heart and nerves, whenever you feel them "going back on you." Or, if you have it, use whiskey or ammonia.
Whiskey is not an antidote; it has no effect at all on the venom; its service is simply as a stimulant for the murderously attacked heart and lungs, and as a bracer to the victim's nerves, thus helping him over the crisis. For this purpose some pretty stiff drinks may be needed, if strychnine is not to be had; but don't guzzle inordinately; an excess, by its depressive reaction later, may weaken the system alarmingly after the venom itself has been conquered.
(5). In half an hour you should gradually loosen the ligature, permitting some blood to flow back from the injured limb and fresh blood to enter it. Then tighten again. This admits only a little of the poison at a time to the heart. Repeat the alternate tightening and loosening at intervals for a considerable time, until the danger is over. To leave the ligature unloosened for more than an hour, at the farthest, would put you in grave danger of gangrene.