A terrified mother of-two has told how her leg ‘blew up like a balloon’ after she was bitten ‘by an adder’ while cleaning her son’s paddling pool.
Charlotte Brown, 38, was left in agony after the snake emerged from under the pool and sank its fangs into her leg in Berriew, Powys, on Tuesday.
Mrs Brown thought she had been bitten by a horse-fly but within hours her right leg had swollen to almost twice its normal size.
Husband Ricky, 35, rushed her to hospital the next day and doctors told her the bite could have caused a potentially fatal blood clot.
Mrs Brown thought she had been bitten by a horse-fly but within hours her right leg had swollen to almost twice its normal size (left and right)
Charlotte Brown (pictured), 38, was left in agony after the snake emerged from under the pool and sank its fangs into her leg in Berriew, Powys, on Tuesday
Mrs Brown, who lives with husband Ricky and their two sons Lewis, 15, and Sam (pictured with his mother in the pool), 11, first called a doctor who initially prescribed her with antibiotics
NHS carer Mrs Brown said: ‘We’ve got one of these really big paddling pools. If you’re small you could do a couple of laps in there.
‘My son had it out through the first half of the year. It had gone all green and manky so I thought I would clean it.
‘I was scrubbing the pool and getting out any bits of dirty water. I didn’t really notice anything but halfway through the cleaning, I noticed that my leg had quite a lot of blood on it.
British adder: The UK’s only venomous snake
The adder is the only venomous snake native to Britain.
They have the most highly developed venom injecting mechanism of all snakes, but they are not aggressive animals.
The adder is the only venomous snake native to Britain
Adders will only use venom as a last means of defence, usually if caught or trodden on.
No one has died from adder bite in Britain for over 20 years.
With proper treatment, the worst effects are nausea and drowsiness, followed by severe swelling and bruising in the area of the bite.
Source: Forestry Commission
‘I thought it was a horse-fly, but it was a lot of blood for that. I carried on and didn’t really think much of it.
‘My mother-in-law came back from a walk and just said to put some vinegar on it. It didn’t look right, but I got changed and I went to work.
‘I walked about 10 minutes to get to the house for the person I care for and put them to bed. It felt as if a jelly was on top of my foot. It was swelling up.
‘The pain was quite bad, it felt like a really nasty Chinese burn. It swelled up really quickly and was past my ankle.’
She added: ‘We have quite extensive training on wounds and swelling so I knew it wasn’t right.’
Mrs Brown, who lives with husband Ricky and their two sons Lewis, 15, and Sam, 11, first called a doctor who initially prescribed her with antibiotics.
She claimed: ‘I couldn’t get the doctors to take me seriously. She said, ”It won’t be venomous, we don’t have any venomous snakes in this country. Carry on with the antibiotics”.
‘I just went to sleep. My husband then woke me up and said ”We’re going to do something about your leg as it is getting worse and worse and it’s going a funny colour”.’
He rushed her to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shropshire, some 22 miles away, and she was taken into A&E.
Mrs Brown said: ‘They did regular blood checks and gave me anti-venom but they told me it carried a risk of people going into anaphylactic shock.
‘They also said the bite could cause blood clots which could cause heart attacks so I was very worried. I couldn’t believe I could die from a little snake bite in Wales.
‘I had loads of little blisters and my skin felt so tight. It was like my foot was on fire and my calf had blown up like a balloon.’
The NHS worker said a consultant looked at her leg and told her it was a ‘typical reaction to snake venom’.
She said he put her on a drip of anti-venom and she stayed in hospital for two nights as the swelling went down.
The NHS worker (pictured with son Sam) said a consultant looked at her leg and told her it was a ‘typical reaction to snake venom’
She added: ‘It was unbelievable. Anti-venom is underused in this country. Because of the high risk of anaphylaxis.
‘I don’t blame the snake, it’s not their fault. It was probably cooling in some shade underneath my pool.
‘He probably lives in the field right next to us, which is quite a good habitat right behind our garden. It was definitely an adder as the anti-venom got to work straight away.’