Rattlesnake bites sending more Coloradans to hospitals

AURORA, Colo. -- For those spending free time exploring Colorado’s great outdoors, wildlife officials are warning about a spike in rattlesnake sightings.

“Rattlesnake sightings are on the rise and several Elbert County residents have been transported to local hospitals over the past couple of weeks following rattlesnake bites,” the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

The snakes like to sunbathe on hot surfaces such as rocks and pathways. In the summer, they can also be found in open space brush.

“Although we typically see these snakes sunning on south-facing hillsides with large rocks in the spring and fall, they roam open prairies in summer,” the post said.

The snakes are even making their way into neighborhoods. In June, an Aurora mother suffered a rattlesnake bite on her foot while outside playing with her children.

“I felt a lot of pain,” Paola Luevanos said.

She was reportedly walking down the middle of the street in her residential neighborhood near East Hampden Avenue and South Conservatory Parkway.

Her children were riding bicycles when she felt something such as an intense bee sting near her small toe on her right foot.

“When I turned back, the snake was behind me so she started moving backwards,” Luevanos said.

She said she had to send her small son to a neighbor’s house to call 911.

“I started getting dizzy and my right hand started shaking a lot,” she said.

“You could believe it if you went camping or hiking or something like that,” her husband Juan Carlos Luevanos said. “But in the middle of the street walking your kids?”

The couple say they are paranoid every time they leave their home.

“That’s the first thing that comes to your mind. What if it’s one of your kids? What if it’s the baby, the one that can’t say what hurts or how much it hurts?” he said.

According to health officials, if a human or pet suffers a snake bite, the most important thing to do is remain calm. Call 911 immediately after the bite.

Until paramedics arrive, keep the affected area below the heart to prevent the venom from spreading faster.

It is important not to attempt to suck or cut out the venom. Leave the bite alone until a medical professional is present.