Baby survives snakebite due to quick treatment

March 6, 2012 7:36:21 AM PST
More than 240 people were bitten by poisonous snakes around Houston last year. Because of this mild winter, people are already going to the emergency room with snakebites.

One Houston-area couple got the scare of their lives after their toddler was bitten by a copperhead in their yard.

Zac was only 17 months old when he was bitten by the venomous snake.

"He was right here and he had it over his head like this, just playing with it, and by the time my wife got to him, he had actually put it on top of his head," said Zac's father, Martin Normand. "At first we didn't know he had gotten bit. He wasn't crying. He was just laughing."

Minutes later, Zac's hand started swelling and his parents realized it was a copperhead bite.

"It happened at noon and by 1:30, he already had received the first dose of the anti-venom, which probably saved his hand and his life," Normand said.

There is only one anti-venom for snakebites in the US. Here's what you should do on the way to the hospital.

"Certainly don't do anything you see in the movies, no tourniquets, don't cut, don't try to extract the venom by mouth or some sort of suction device. The best thing really is to try to remain calm and bring them to a professional facility," said Dr. Randall Sharer with Memorial Hermann The Woodlands.

Dr. Sharer says there has been a spike in the number of people coming to the ER for harmful snakebites.

"We've noticed an increase number with the mild winter. They are less likely to be hibernating with the warm weather, they seem to come out," Dr. Sharer said.

Afterward, Normand cleared the brush around his house and found two more copperheads. Zac and his big brother Luc aren't afraid, but mom and dad are.

"He's a year old. I'm pretty sure if he saw another baby copperhead he would pick it up again," Normand said.

Zac's family had three copperheads in their yard and their neighbor in Spring had a coral snake in his yard. Doctors say, come to the ER but don't bring the snake. They know what anti-venom to give.