Metro Atlanta mother says important steps helped save son’s life after copperhead bite

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A metro Atlanta mother wants to warn others after her 6-year-old son was bitten by a copperhead snake. She believes acting quickly may have saved her son’s life.

Andrea Childers told Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon a basketball game outside of her Gwinnett County home became a nightmare for her son, Zander.

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“We heard them yelling, ‘Snake, snake’ and then Zander said he got bit by a snake,” Childers said.

“I tripped over my foot and fell. And the snake thought I was trying to grab it,” Zander said.

It wasn’t just any snake, it was a venomous copperhead snake.

“We were initially going to get shoes and head to the emergency room and I said, ‘No, we need to call for an ambulance.’ So we called 911 and they walked us through laying flat, put the arm below the heart,” Childers said.

Minutes later, Zander arrived at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life where doctors described it as a race against time.

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“It is a short window of time where the anti-venom can reverse the effects so it doesn’t cause long-term damage,” said Childers said.

Copperhead bites can also be fatal, although they are rare.

Luckily, after two days in the pediatric ICU, doctors sent Zander home happy and healthy.

“Act quickly, don’t wonder was it a venomous snake? Was it not a venomous snake?  Call for medical professionals,” Childers said.

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Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life has some advice on avoiding snake bites: Always wear closed-toe shoes when out on walks, avoid tall brush and clear debris from areas where children play.