SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - Local doctors said they are seeing more snakebite cases than usual, possibly linked to all the rain that has recently hit metro Atlanta.
Channel 2’s Jeff Dore was a victim of a snake bite Monday evening. He remains in the hospital, recovering from what was most likely a copperhead bite.
Dore has fang marks on his hand, and his hand and arm are badly swollen. He said he was cleaning the gutters when he reached into a bed of ivy for what he thought was a hose.
“I reached down to grab it and whack, whack, just very, very sharp pain. I mean, I jerked my hand out,” Dore told Channel 2’s Diana Davis.
His hand quickly swelled, and he drove himself to the hospital for treatment. Then, the swelling started to move up his arm.
“With Jeff, we were concerned that it was spreading far too fast too quickly,” said Dr. Joseph Funk, an emergency medicine specialist at Northside Hospital.
Funk gave Dore a dose of antivenom.
Doctors don’t use it on all snake bites, only in cases such as Dore’s, when symptoms get worse.
“About 25 percent of snakebites are a dry bite. In others words, they don’t get the venom in them. And even if you do get the venom, it may not spread. The reason to give the CroFab (antivenom) is if you think it’s going to be life- or limb-threatening,” Funk said.
The snake that bit Dore was never found, but it was most likely a copperhead.
Six varieties of venomous snakes live in Georgia, including copperheads, cotton mouths, three kinds of rattlers and coral snakes.
“The copperheads are typically not as life threatening as water moccasins or rattlesnakes,” Funk said.
Funk said bites from all venomous snakes should checked by a doctor.
“It should be watched for a couple of hours to see the progression of it, even if you are not sure it was a snakebite,” he said.
It turns out Dore's Sandy Springs neighborhood is crawling with snakes. Dore was the second patient the Northside Hospital doctor treated Monday night. The patient treated just before Dore turned out to be his next-door neighbor.
Dan Dill reached into a bed of ivy just like Dore, and also didn’t look where he was reaching and was not wearing gloves.
“Normally, I would have leather gloves and that would have saved me,” said Dill.
Dill killed the snake that bit him. A few minutes later, another snake bite Dore. Dill told Davis coppherheads have been spotted everywhere.
“Our neighbor behind us on the cul-de-sac had five copperheads killed by their gardeners all in one afternoon,” said Dill.
Dore said it was painful snakebite.
“They actually gave a low dose of morphine at first, which had absolutely no impact at all,” he said.
He’ll spend one more night in the hospital as a precaution. Antivenom can sometimes cause complications “such as fever, shortness of breath. You can have an allergic reaction to it,” Funk said.
Dore plans on using a new approach to getting rid of his overgrown ivy in the future.
“We will take a weed whacker, and we will cut all that stuff down to where you can see what's in there,” he said.