Chesterfield woman bitten by copperhead still recovers 30 days later

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jul 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-18 18:30:07-04

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.