163: Sawyer Extractor


The Extractor is the niftiest invention since . . . since another really nifty invention. If you live around stinging insects, it’s particularly useful for removing the venom of their bites. Fortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity need to try it out on snakebites.

It contains the vacuum pump and several heads to choose from, depending on the location and size of the bite.

It does give you a wicked hickey, though, especially if you use it on delicate skin, since the basic operation is to create a vacuum on the skin:

If you’re in a place where you’re likely to be stung (especially if you’re likely to be stung more than once), I can’t recommend one of these enough.

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2 Responses to 163: Sawyer Extractor

  1. Alan says:

    Do you know about electroshock for insect and snake bites? I’ve used it and highly recommend it as a first-line defense. I carry a push-button (replacement) grill lighter from Lowes in my toolbag and my backpack. I don’t get to use them much, but they work. And it doesn’t leave a hickey for insect bites that it works on!

    For what its worth, I wrapped some #12 solid copper wire around the body of the grill lighter to make a bigger “negative” terminal. You just hold the unit parallel to the skin when treating the location in question. The biggest mistake in implementation is touching the skin with the high-voltage (“positive”) terminal — hold it away to get the longest possible spark; the gap lets the voltage build up high enough to do some “good”.

    The consensus I’ve seen (primarily Guderian) is that 5 applications of 2-5 sparks each is the point of diminishing returns — give it 30 seconds between applications to see how things go. I’ve seen a swollen spider bite disappear in 30 seconds from just two zaps! Then again, my dad tried to save my sister from some “harmless” African bug and he was in pain all night because this didn’t help.

    I first heard about this as treatment for scorpion bites from missionaries in Sudan — it seemed a bit more plausible than the alternative wetting a cigarette and rubbing it on the opposite ear!

    Suggested reading:

    These guys have nothing good to say about it, but I’ll mention them in the interest of balance: http://www.herper.com/venom/electro.html

    Their main problem is with using too high of a voltage. Anything higher than 30kv doesn’t penetrate well and burns the skin instead. So most stun-guns are ineffective. But lawn-mower sparkplug wires and most car and truck sparkplug wires would work well (unless you have a diesel, but then you’ve already chosen your poison with more care than most). =)

    — Alan

  2. Teresa says:

    wow, this is educational and entertaining, Jen!

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