Local mayor recovering after bite from copperhead snake

BERLEY LAKE, Ga. — A local mayor is warning residents about venomous snakes after one bit her.

Mayor Lois Salter of Berkeley Lake in Gwinnett County showed Channel 2’s Tom Regan how she was returning from a dog walk around 10 p.m. when something lashed out at her from the dark.

“As soon as I stepped off the street and onto here, is where it bite me. And it was incredibly painful. Very painful, very quickly,” Salter told Regan.%

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She then pointed her cellphone, turned on the light and spotted her attacker -- a copperhead snake sitting in driveway.

“It was coiled up, and it was very scary," Salter told Regan.

She rushed away and called the Georgia Poison Center, asking what to do about the bite on her foot that was flaring up.

Their advice: “Don't put a tourniquet on it, don't cut it and suck the poison out or anything, just get to the hospital quick.”

Salter drove herself to nearby Gwinnett Medical Center in Duluth.

'When I walked in, they were looking for me, because the poison control people had called,” Salter told Regan. “The leg was purple and hot and very painful."

Doctors had anti-venom serum on hand and told her that if the swelling and discoloration went much above her knee, they would have to use the serum. Fortunately it wasn't necessary.

But the mayor remained in the hospital for days, and the swelling continued for weeks.

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“After I got home, it hurt quite a lot. I couldn’t put any weight on my foot,” Salter said.

In her recent email to residents, she warned them to be cautious of venomous snakes, and not to kill non-venomous snakes, as some prey on copperheads.

“They shouldn't kill the good snakes, and (should) know where to look for the bad ones,” Salter said.