@SurvivalGal I agree. REI should not sell this and neither should Sawyer. Or at least they should not sell it or similar devices as a snake bite treatment. It is "marketed on a myth"
No credible article on snake bite first aid I have read recommends these devices and most specifically say DO NOT USE them. The consensus is that they do more harm than good. Here is an article from a credible source...more credible than me anyway.
While there may be other uses for a localized suction device, treating a snake bite is not one of them...neither is applying a tourniquet or applying ice as these can cause tissue damage and increase the likelihood of amputation being necessary.
For the US snake bites the advice is...
- Move away from the snake.
- Sit down in case you pass out.
- Remove any jewelry or similar from the limb. Try to keep the limb lower than the heart. Do not over exert it but immobilization is not recommended.
- Note the snake's color and markings and/or take a picture if it is still visible BUT DO NOT pursue the snake - this is a good way to get multiple bites and the second bite is less likely to be "dry". Depending on the type and age of the snake 30% to 50% of bites are venom-less.
- Record the time and if possible mark the wound with sharpie.
- Clean and dress the wound.
- Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) if you feel some pain relief is necessary BUT DO NOT take blood thinning pain killers such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
- Summon and seek help as soon as possible.
- If possible hike out to transportation or to an area from which you can more easily be rescued.
This article may be of interest...WARNING: it contains a picture of an actual snake bite probably taken in Africa.
Note: This article says to use Benadryl in case of anaphylaxis but a more recent articles says Benadryl and similar antihistamine are not a useful treatment for snake bites where they may be for bee stings.
Wilderness snake bites are quite rare in the US but not quite a "non-issue". There have been two reported cases in Yosemite this year...
These cases also illustrates of the benefit of carrying a cell phone and/or an Satellite Messenger in the back country. The best treatment for a venomous snake bite is getting treatment fast.