Morgan County family: 3-year-old is still recovering following copperhead bites

Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency shared tips on how to keep your family safe from snakes. (Source: WVLT)
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 7:40 PM EDT
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MORGAN CO., Tenn. (WVLT) - A Morgan County family, who asked to remain anonymous, said their 3-year-old daughter is still recovering nearly a week and a half after being bitten by a copperhead snake twice on her foot.

The family told WVLT News they were walking home from a family member’s house and in recently cut grass when the toddler was bitten. She was wearing sandals, and the family said they didn’t see it slithering until it was too late.

The girl was taken to Roane Medical before being transported by ambulance to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for anti-venom treatment.

The family said they wanted to share their experience in hopes others don’t have to go through what they did.

Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency shared tips on how to keep your family safe from snakes.

“One of the best ways to keep snakes out of your yard is to keep your yard de-cluttered,” TWRA field biologist, Chris Ogle, said.

He said people can find them in those areas since they are cold-blooded and they’re looking for warm places.

“If you’re trying to get rid of something, whatever the something is that you’re trying to get rid of, the best way to get rid of it is to get rid of its prey,” Ogle said. He said snakes like to eat mice and rats.

“If you don’t want wildlife in your yard, have the manicured lawn. Weed eat, mow those kinds of things,” Ogle explained.

He recommended people wear closed-toed shoes when in the grass, especially if out at night.

It’s also important to teach kids about snake safety. “I think children need to be taught to respect and fear snakes in terms of I don’t want to touch the snake, I don’t want to try to pick up the snake,” Chief Medical Officer for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Dr. Joe Childs, said.

Childs said if someone is bitten, they need to go to the hospital.

“Any bite should be cleaned with soap and water. You don’t want to panic because lower heart rates are good for the person who’s bit. It keeps things from circulating as much through the body,” he explained.

Thankfully, copperhead bites are rarely deadly, but Childs said anti-venom can be given on a case-by-case basis because it can have serious side effects. However, Children’s does keep it on hand.

“With a child getting a full dose of a bite from a venomous snake, they can be more susceptible to a serious injury,” Childs said.

The best thing you can do is be aware of your surroundings.

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