A scary moment for one family has turned into a teachable moment for parents everywhere. Cyndi Spell recently spoke to TODAY Parents about why it's important to educate children about wild snakes after a bite from one landed her 5-year-old daughter in the intensive care unit.
Maisy Lamica, who recently celebrated her kindergarten graduation, was playing with her cat in her father's backyard in Georgia. When she noticed that the kitty was zeroing in on a timber rattlesnake, she moved towards it, too.
That's when the venomous snake bit her leg three times.
Shortly after Maisy's dad called 9-1-1, the little girl went into anaphylactic shock, which can cause breathing difficulties. Maisy's health care providers aren't sure what caused the reaction, but believe she was allergic to rattlesnake venom to begin with or the high amount of poison left in her system from of the bites.
Whatever the reason, the local hospital couldn't treat Maisy, so they transported her to Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., where she was admitted to the facility's pediatric intensive care unit. In a Facebook post on Monday, Cyndi mentioned that Maisy had been given 37 vials of anti-venom throughout the ordeal. Though the swelling went down each time a vial was administered, it would reappear later in the day.
"We are all running on little to no sleep, quite a few tears, and prayers that this is just the final hurdle of a horrible snake race for our little one," Cyndi wrote.
But 24 hours and four more vials of anti-venom later, thankfully, there appeared to be light at the end of the tunnel for Maisy.
"She's a lot better," Cyndi told TODAY Parents. "The doctors are blown away at how she has pulled through. Her leg finally quit swelling. There was a moment we were unsure if orthopedic doctors would need to cut it open to relieve the swelling."
Cyndi doesn't know when Maisy will be discharged, but she notes that the little girl is smiling again. And now, Cyndi wants to sound the alarm for other parents.
"I look back and wonder [if] instead of telling my child, 'Beware of snakes, snakes are scary, and snakes are dangerous,' maybe informing her more of what to do when she actually came across one might have helped some," Spell says.
Experts say it's best that children wear sturdy shoes in places where snakes are often found. Parents should instruct them to leave the area if they see a snake. If your child is bitten, remain calm, keep them still to prevent toxins from spreading throughout the body, and call 9-1-1 right away.
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