Schoolgirl recovers after snake bite

July 05 2018
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A 15 year old pupil at Castle School in Thornbury, has recovered after being bitten by an adder.

Jess Astley had been walking in the school field with friends during a  lunch break when she was bitten. She said: “It was all so quick. The girls around me were screaming. I felt something go into me, I kicked and felt something rip out of me and then I was gone, I ran so fast”. 

Head of year 7, Andrew Grant, who’s been at the school for 23 years, was in the student centre when Jess came in. 

He said: “I do various school expeditions and was brought up in an area with lots of snakes, so recognised it as an adder bite. The snake had been in the long grass on the edge of woodland – typical for this time of year when they often range further in search of mates. The unusually warm dry weather also encourages them to be more active. The bite was defensive, but included some venom.”

The paramedics who treated Jess said they’d never been called to a snakebite injury before. 

Jess was given antihistamine as her ankle puffed up and a rash appeared around the bite. At Southmead hospital she was given anti venom.

Jess said: “The staff believed it was an adder because it’s the only venomous snake in Britain and my ankle had really puffed up. If it had been a grass snake there would have been just the two holes.”

Her Mum, Jane Combes, said: “The staff treated it as if it was an adder, but we won’t ever know for sure. Everyone on the day was fantastic and I felt Jess was in the right hands all the way through”. 

Her daughter was kept on a high dependency ward for 4 hours because of the risk of anaphylactic shock. Happily, Jess has recovered completely and was ready to start her GCSE exams.