Chesterfield woman bitten by copperhead still recovers 30 days later

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — A Chesterfield woman says she’s still recovering, a month after being bitten by a copperhead snake.

Poisonous snakes tend to hide in places like bushes and weeds. Experts say they’re not aggressive and will run away from you.

Chesterfield resident Karen Morrow didn’t realize there was a snake right in front of her.

She is still frightened to step foot in her back yard.

“I wasn’t much further than this and I stepped over the log and all of the sudden the pain was horrible,” she recalls.

She was bitten while pulling weeds in the garden of her Midlothian home.

“No, initially I thought brown recluse spider,” she says.

Morrow says her swollen leg was nearly the size of a watermelon, and the pain was excruciating.

“It felt like the most horrible sunburn you’ve ever had. Anytime I tried to use the leg it felt like someone lit a match,” Morrow says.

The 68 year old has been seen by a number of doctors who treated her with antibiotics, along with morphine for the pain.

“I haven’t even been to the grocery store which is a minimal kind of thing,” she says.

According to Virginia’s Game and Inland Fisheries this is the time of year when copperhead snakes typically emerge.

“Usually, they try to run away,” says Susan Watson, with the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries. “The thing with the copperhead though they camouflage so well.”

“Sometimes what they do is stay still, if you’re real close by,” she says.

Watson says if you come in contact with a snake, stand still and then begin to slowly back away.

“If a snake is coming towards you,” Watson says. “It’s not because it’s coming after you.”

“You’re standing between it and its known hiding place.”

The number of snake bites in the area is on the rise compared to last year.

“Sometimes weather can have an effect on more snakes being present or not. And if it’s too dry snakes might be on the move looking for water or if we’ve had too much rain that can flood out where they normally hide and can bring them out closer to home,” Watson says.

Morrow says she knows how to avoid a snake the next time.

”Look where you’re going instead of focusing on,” she says, “I was focusing on the weeds and not what was in front of me.

 

9 comments

  • Jay

    Seems to be a huge increase in the number of snakes in central Va. versus recent years. Watch where you step. However, most bites occur when folks try to move or capture ‘em.

  • jess

    They are very aggressive the two resent encounters I have had they both struck at me before I notices them. Just last night I went to go cut my water hose off and a copperhead struck at me on my back porch luckly I seen hin out of the corner of my eye and ran my husband went back to kill him since we have four small children and dogs and even after being cut in half he was still stricking highly aggressive

  • angela

    It makes me sick that my mom almost died from a copper head bite and nothing was said about that but this woman is all over the news… Its been about 5 weeks sense she got bit and has anxiety attacks every time she walks out her door… She is still not fully healed and won’t be for another year doctors are saying but it doesn’t matter huh….

    • Dave

      Oh my goodness! Sandra Jones you racist, sexist, homophobic, anti- Angela’s Mom meanie! It’s been 5 weeks and nobody’s done a news article on this poor suffering woman! Get a crew out there on the double. Our condolences and apologies, Angela. Please provide an email and home address for the foundation I’m setting up in honor of your mother. Never Forget!

  • Ann Hardy

    In the event of a venomous snake bite, you should call poison control immediately. Not all healthcare providers know how to treat venomous snakes bites. The people at Poison Control are
    the experts when it comes to decisions about anti venom and other treatments. They can advise you on where to seek treatment and will stay in contact with your medical providers in the early stages of treatment. They are an invaluable and underutilized resource.

  • mbaker9105

    If you surprise them, corner them, or step on them, etc. they will strike. As stated in the article, If they are “coming at you” you are in the way of somewhere they want to be, usually where they feel safe just move slowly around or away. I grew up in the mountains and we had them back in the hollow all the time. They are more active back there because it’s cooler in the day than here. Here, generally they only move around when it’s cool out (evening, night, morning), but in spring and fall when it’s cool at night they’ll come out during the day to catch some rays, which is why you don’t see them all that much. Grandaddy use to take us out late winter/early spring, carefully clear check brushes, rock piles, etc. on the property and eliminate quite a few when they were still dormant or very close to it. And he told us every time it seems “boy, they probably won’t kill you, but you might wisht you was daid”. They are good for controlling rodents. If you want less of them around, you can make sure you don’t have a whole lot of debris or junk on your property, mulch that is WAY too thick, etc. I believe there are also some inground vibration devices you can buy that keep them away, they don’t like that. One of the main problems I’ve seen living here for 25 years, is in urban or suburban areas parents don’t teach their children early on how to properly move around and evaluate the area they’re in, especially the woods. Watch were you step, proper attire (leather high tops or boots and jeans vs. flip flops and shorts), etc. I’m sorry for anyone who has to go through a bite.

  • Kevin

    I know it’s a small consolation, but it was a good thing it was a copperhead, it is the least poisonous of the venomous snakes in this area. I don’t know of any copperhead related fatalities. That said, all snakes should be treated with respect.

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