4-year-old bitten by venomous copperhead while camping with family

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT
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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WTVC) – A 4-year-old boy is recovering after a venomous copperhead snake bit him during a family camping trip.

Doctors credit Jad Pollom’s father with photographing the snake, helping them provide treatment.

Jad was bitten on Memorial Day weekend while his family was camping in the Highlands of North Carolina.

“I heard Jaddy scream,” Stacy Pollom, Jad’s mother, said. “I knew It was a concerning one.”

After he was bitten, the Polloms rushed Jad to a nearby emergency room where he got 10 vials of antivenom treatment.

“His symptoms were progressing and were concerning, and through his labs and through just the swelling progression, so then he was airlifted to T-C Thompson for higher level of care,” his mother said.

When Jad was airlifted, Stacy Pollom said she and the boy’s father were unable to go with him.

“Truly, it would be most a parent’s worst nightmare to see your kid and that helicopter and not go with them and also recognizing that they’re going to get there hours before you’re going to be able to get to them,” she said.

When Jad made it to the hospital, doctors treated him for three days until he was stabilized.

Kevin Calhoon, curator of forests at the Tennessee Aquarium, said copperhead bites are pretty common.

“They’re more common on the ridge of Signal Mountain and Lookout Mountain,” he said. “They like rocky woods.”

Calhoon said most copperhead bites in the area come from people trying to pick the snakes up, and that copperheads have some of the mildest venom in the U.S.

Calhoon also gave advice for anyone who may ever find themselves bitten by one.

“The wise thing is just relax and just go to the emergency room, and getting a picture of the snake is very wise because that tells for sure what the snake was,” he said.

Kate Gore, animal care supervisor at the Chattanooga Zoo, said a popular myth regarding snake venom may not actually help.

“Do not suck out venom because you want, you’re basically going to encourage it to go to a different spot, and you could possibly get some in your mouth, and if you have a cut that could cause problems,” she said.

Jad gave his parents quite a scare, but his mother said she feels blessed at his recovery.

Exports said it’s best to keep your yard tidy if you live in an area with venomous snakes as they sometimes look for food, water and shelter in piles of debris and brush.

Bird feeders can also attract rodents, which can in turn attract snakes.

Hikers can also avoid snake bites by watching where they place their hands and feet on the trail.

If a snake is encountered, the safest thing to do is to walk away and give it time to leave the area.