Snake attack leaves 8-year-old rattled, but recovering

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Rattlesnake bites are more common this time of year, experts say, as several Inland Empire kids and at least one dog have learned. (KABC)

Eight-year-old William Preston knows enough about rattlesnakes to avoid them.

But when he went to retrieve his kite from some brush in his front yard recently, he didn't hear a warning rattle.

He did feel the bite, though.

"I was freaking out," he recalled. "Definitely freaking out."

The rattlesnake that bit his leg made no sound before it struck he said. After the attack, his mother immediately called 911 and followed the dispatcher's advice as they waited for an ambulance.

"The 911 operator advised us to actually keep the leg below the heart and to not wrap it in a tourniquet but to wrap the leg with an Ace bandage just kind of loosely," said Donna Preston, William's mom.

He was treated with antivenom at Kaiser Permanente Riverside and then transferred to Loma Linda University Medical Center where he received more antivenom in the pediatric emergency room.

It took two weeks for him to recover.

And now, William says, he'll wait until winter to go kite-flying again.

Experts say this is the time of year when snakes become more active and bites are reported. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the state sees about 800 rattlesnake bites a year, with one or two deaths, most of them between April and October.

About 25 percent of the bites are dry, with no venom injected, but still require treatment, the agency said.

The day after William returned to school, a 3-year-old girl was bitten by a rattlesnake in Chino Hills and flown to Loma Linda.

And two weeks ago, a family's pet Labrador was bitten in La Verne.

Both recovered from the attacks, thanks to prompt medical treatment.
Related Topics:
newssnakeanimal attackkaiser permanenteLoma LindaChino HillsSan Bernardino County
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