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Boy, 6, dies days after being bitten by rattlesnake on family bike ride


A six-year-old boy has died a week after being bit by a rattlesnake during a family bike ride near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Two children were biking with their father and stopped to drink water in the Bluestem Prairie Open Space when the boy ran ahead and the snake struck, CBS Colorado reported.

Security Fire Battalion Chief Derek Chambers told CBS: “Being a dad myself it really, really hits home.”

Mr Chambers was among the first responders taking action when the call came in on 5 July shortly after 8am.

“As soon as the kid was bitten, the dad grabbed him and started running toward the street … screaming for help,” he said.

The emergency services were at the scene just minutes after the snake bit the six-year-old, with a helicopter en route. The child was taken to hospital, but passed away a week later.

“It’s hard to imagine what that family is going through,” Mr Chambers said. While he said sightings of snakes are common, it was his first time responding to a snakebite after more than ten years of service at the fire station.

Volunteers show a western diamondback rattlesnake during a guided hunt on the outskirts of town during the 2021 Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas on March 14, 2021

(AFP via Getty Images)

He told CBS Colorado that if you or someone you are with is bitten by a snake, it’s important that you “stay calm, try and slow down your heart rate as much as possible, leave the bite wound lower than the heart, don’t elevate,” he said. “Don’t put a tourniquet on it and don’t try and suck out the venom, but get the child or patient to a hospital as quick as possible.”

The Colorado Springs Fire Department told KKTV that not attending to a rattlesnake bite may leave you nauseous and dizzy, your blood pressure may fall and your heart rate could rise.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife experts also told KKTV that knowing what exact snake bit you can help hospitals with providing the correct anti-venom.

Lieutenant Joey Buttenwieser of the Colorado Springs Fire Department said that “the best thing to do is take a picture of it or try to get the best description of it, but make sure you can still keep your distance”.

“We don’t want to risk someone else getting struck or getting struck again by that snake,” he added.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, rattlesnakes tend to avoid people but around 8,000 individuals are bitten by venomous snakes each year in the US, leading to between 10 and 15 fatalities.

In another case in the state, a 31-year-old endurance athlete died in 2017 after also being bitten by a rattlesnake.

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