A 5-year-old girl is recovering in the hospital after being bitten by a western diamondback rattlesnake. It happened Saturday morning at Longhorn Cavern State Park just outside of Burnet.
After last week's bad weather, Alicia Oehler brought her children there to get some fresh air. A couple hours into the visit, her young daughter Emily Rose was bitten.
"She was just running around chasing her brother," Oehler said.
Oehler said she turned her back for a second and Emily was bit on the ankle by a snake hiding in the rocks.
"I was very surprised and heartbroken," Oehler said. "No child should have to go through that."
"I've been out here three-and-a-half years and this is the first snake bite we've seen in that time," Longhorn Cavern State Park Superintendent Cory Evans said. "A little unusual that the snake was out during the middle of the winter."
Evans said the western diamondback rattlesnakes generally hibernate in the winter. However, if you do see one avoid it at all costs.
"If you are bitten, the main thing is don't get excited to elevate your heart rate," Evans said. "I don't recommend tourniquet, don't recommend any type of constriction. Call 9-1-1 and get there as quick as you possibly can."
Emily was flown to the hospital where she's since received more than 30 doses of anti-venom treatment. Her mother said at first that Emily's body rejected it and the venom started moving up her leg, but now the treatment is working.
"They have her on a drip line right now of a continuous amount," Oehler said.
The treatment is costly and Oehler doesn't have insurance.
"We're stressing about it, but right now the focus is on Emily," she said. "Today she's finally happy and alert. She's strong. She's hanging in there"
Oehler has set up a GoFundMe account for her daughter's medical costs.
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