CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – A Cincinnati boy who was air-lifted to Erlanger after he was bit by a snake continues to recover from his ordeal.
On Monday, Ethan Aldridge, 11, of Cincinnati was on vacation with his family near the the Ocoee River when he was attacked by a Copper Head Snake. Aldridge said he was climbing on some rocks when the snake bit him in the left hand. The boy was air lifted to Erlanger where he spent the past couple of days undergoing treatment.
"My hand still hurts every now and then so I’m getting pain medicine," Aldridge said.
Aldridge is one of 13 people in the Tennessee Valley recently bitten by venomous snakes. Five of the victims were children. Aldridge said he’s lucky the venom didn’t quickly travel through his body.
"I was hoping it didn’t go to my heart because I didn’t want to die. I was freaking out like crazy," the boy said.
Luckily his mother was there and knew what to do before paramedics could arrive.
"The best thing that you can do is keep them calm and move them away immediately and keep them calm so that their heart rate doesn’t increase and the venom doesn’t spread faster," said Janette Mullholand who is the boy’s mother.
Dr. Pete Kelley of University Surgical Associates in Chattanooga said he’s seen three snake bites cases involving children within the past couple of weeks and anticipates seeing more cases this summer.
With more families expecting to be out and about this upcoming holiday weekend, he’s urging people to be very careful if they venture into areas where snakes are sure to be found.
Dr. Kelley also urges snake bite victims to avoid doing things they see done in Hollywood movies.
"You don’t cut the bite. You don’t suck on the bite. Don’t put a tourniquet on the extremity because that decreases the blood flow to the extremity and actually makes the injury worse," Kelley said.
Kelley also advises snake bite victims to try and describe the snake that bit them because it helps doctors administer the proper treatment.
Experts also say that people walking on trails should always stay on path because snakes are more likely to be hiding in the grassy areas.
As for Aldridge, doctors say he will continue to feel pain in his hand for the next couple of days. He will also go back to Cincinnati with an incredible story to tell. But for now, his main advice to other children is simple.
"Be careful, snakes are smarter than you think," Aldridge said.