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Teen girl hospitalized after snake bite

Posted at 11:41 AM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 13:14:24-04

A 13-year-old girl was hospitalized Thursday after she was bitten by a snake at a west side park.

KGUN9 has learned that the girl is home from the hospital as of Saturday June 11 and is doing OK. 

According to the Tucson Fire Department, it happened at the Christopher Columbus Park at 4600 N. Silverbell Road.

She was doing charity work with her church and was walking a dog in a brush area when the snake bit her in the ankle. It's likely the snakes was camouflaged, fire crews say, and the girl did not hear or see the snake.

Captain Barrett Baker with TFD says the girl was in good spirits, and would likely spend the night at the hospital. Fire crews were not able to find the snake. If you are bitten, Baker says the best thing you can do is stay calm and call 9-1-1 immediately. 

The key is to get medical help as quickly as possible, Baker said. Do not attempt to suck the venom out, don't use a tourniquet or put ice on it, Baker said. 

The 13-year-old wants everyone to know that she doesn't blame the snake and loves all animals. 

This was the first snakebite call Tucson Fire has gotten this year. Because they are within city limits, Bakers says they only get a few each year.  Northwest Fire has responded to three in 2016.

Dr. Mazda Shirazi with the Arizona Poison & Drug Information Center says it has received 37 human snakebite calls this year. That includes all of Arizona, excluding Maricopa County. That number is down from last year, Shirazi said, which may be because of cooler weather. At this time in 2015 they had 59 reports of snakebites. 

Snakes to come out when the weather warms up. Experts suggest wearing covered shoes and be aware of your surroundings. If you do encounter a snake, go around it and try to back away. Shirazi says the last thing you want to do is challenge it, because it may strike you.