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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UIC chapter.

Yes, you read the title of this article correctly, I got bit by a snake. This happened, I believe, when I was in the fourth grade. I grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia and the weather is much different than Chicago. This happened in August, when Virginia it is warm during the day and cold during the night (60 degrees). At my house, we had stones that led to the front door. These stones got nice and warm because of the sun beating down on it. These warm stones were a perfect place for a cold animal to hide. After my dad and I got home from getting dinner, I was walking to my front door when all of the sudden I felt a pain like two sharp needles going into my foot. I looked down and I just saw the tail of the snake slithering away.

Illustration by Twemoji in Canva

My dad was in panic mode and tried to find the snake so he could kill it; he was really upset. As my dad did this, I was on the couch crying from pain. My childhood dog (may he rest in peace), Raja kept licking my foot. It is incredible to me how animals (especially dogs) can really feel our pain. My dad did not have any luck finding the snake. Now, I was being rushed to the hospital. We went to the nearest hospital called Martha Jefferson Hospital. My dad was carrying me and two nurses were in the parking lot taking their break. Those nurses noticed my pain and quickly lept into action. It turns out the hospital did not have antivenom. Antivenom is administered to treat venomous bites. Luckily, we knew what kind of snake it was, it was a copperhead. Since the hospital did not have antivenom, I had to be transported in an ambulance to a larger hospital that did. I finally got to the hospital and was given the antivenom. I was really lucky with this situation because it was an adult snake. The situation could have been way worse if it had been a baby snake. Baby snakes (at least in the case of a copperhead) have no control over their bite and release all their venom. This could have potentially turned fatal. I stayed overnight in the hospital. 

After the bite, my foot swelled up a lot, and I mean a lot. I was a fourth grader with the leg of someone from my 600 pound life, to give you a perspective of the swelling. I used crutches to get around for about a week. I actually have a funny substory about the crutches. During music class, we had a fire drill. I brought my crutches just in case I needed support. Well, my very old, fragile teacher insisted on bringing them outside and I felt so bad she had to carry them. Anyway, now my foot is perfectly fine. I am not sure if I have any long-term damage from the bite but my foot is back to normal. This was an experience that I will never forget. The only thing that it has affected is that I get really nervous walking in the grass with sandals or while being barefoot. So, in conclusion, do not wear sandals in the dark.

Maya is currently a Senior at University of Illinois at Chicago. She is majoring in Integrated Health Studies with the goal of becoming a genetic counselor. She joined HER and is excited for all the article she will create. She enjoys staying connected with pop culture and all the new restaurants.
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