Kamloops woman bitten by rattlesnake says pain was worse than labour | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops woman bitten by rattlesnake says pain was worse than labour

On the left: Lisa's foot when she arrived at the hospital with a rattlesnake bite. On the right: Lisa's foot an hour after arriving at the hospital.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
July 18, 2020 - 7:00 AM

A new Kamloops resident just wanted to go for a hike, but because she's new to the city and new to the region, she missed one important bit of local knowledge — be very careful of rattlesnakes. 

It didn't take long for her to find out. Lisa, who asked for some anonymity to avoid shaming over the incident, barely made it past the trailhead at Cooney Bay July 14.

"I just walked in, I felt something on my foot," she said. "There was a great big rattlesnake there and I knew I was bit."

Rattlesnakes are uncommon in most other areas of the country, but not in the Thompson-Okanagan. Thankfully, rattlesnake bites are still rare in B.C., usually less than five people get bitten per year. However, Lisa said she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and admits she wasn't really paying attention.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the northern Pacific rattlesnake in B.C's Interior

After being bitten, she immediately headed to her parked car nearby to call 911 when local Jen Campbell arrived.

"Jen happened to pull into the parking lot, I didn’t know her but I told her I was bit," she said. "She said that she would drive me to the hospital."

The pair headed towards the hospital, but Lisa soon realized she needed emergency assistance.

"I’m pretty sure I was going into shock, I went all numb, couldn’t feel anything in my face or my arms or anything," she said. "So we pulled over by the airport and Jen called 911."

FILE PHOTO.
FILE PHOTO.
Image Credit: sararegistry.ca

Lisa was in hospital for a total of three days, during which she was given nine doses of antivenin. 

"Day one, my foot was just swollen, by day two my whole leg swelled up," she said. "I still probably can’t work for about a week, my foot is still too swollen."

She hopes that others will be aware of rattlesnakes in the Kamloops area so they don't have to go through the same experience. 

"It’s probably the most painful experience I’ve ever experienced in my life," she said. "Including labour. It burns, I still can’t walk."

READ MORE: WILD WEDNESDAY: Rattlesnake season is starting — here's what you need to know

She advises anyone who gets bitten by a snake not to elevate their foot, as this is what she was told upon calling emergency services.

"Keep your foot down, stay calm, and just get to the hospital," she said.

Ultimately, Lisa is thankful not only for the caring treatment she received at the Royal Inland Hospital, but for the fact that a complete stranger was there to help her when she needed it.

"I'm just thankful that Jen was there to drive me," she said. "This person didn't know me and instantly said 'I am driving you to the hospital.'"

For more information on rattlesnakes, visit the Wildlife B.C. website here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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