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The rattlesnake bit Mavrick’s hand on the knuckle of the pointer finger.
Ashley Mitchek

Rattlesnake Bite: Tips on What to Do from a Cheyenne County Family Who Went Through It

By Betsy Barnett

June 18, 2024

Ashley Mitchek is a Cheyenne County mother of two active children. In early August 2020 her son Mavrick, who was going into the fifth grade in a few weeks, was bit by a rattlesnake on the hand while he was mowing round the fence line. It was towards evening when it happened.

Mavrick knew what to do. He immediately went to tell his father who immediately loaded him up and they took off to the hospital while calling 9-1-1 at the same time.

The family lives outside of town a way but quickly the family got Mavrick to Keefe Memorial Hospital in Cheyenne Wells where Ashley says Mavrick received “amazing” care before they flew him out to the Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs. There Mavrick battled through some serious swelling that slowly spread up his arm, but it didn’t take the youngster’s system long to fight back against the poison. In a few days Mavrick was itching to go home. However, his hand had developed huge blisters that the doctors punctured and drained, relieving the situation greatly. Soon Mavrick was home and the rest, as they say, is history.

Four years later, we’re in rattlesnake season again. Ashley says Mavrick wants everyone to know what to do if they are bitten by a rattlesnake. So she has written a helpful to-do list of items for kids and parents in case, God forbid, a rattlesnake shows up ready to strike:

Summer is here and that means the snakes are out! Every year we are reminded of that time we almost lost Mavrick to a rattlesnake bite. It seems like every month we are asked how Mavrick knew what to do and what we learned. We are by no means experts OR medical doctors, but this is what we learned in our months-long journey and in our week stay in the PICU at Children’s Hospital with our favorite guy!

  • STAY CALM when bitten. I know it sounds like it will be hard, but a kid can do it so can you! You do NOT want that venom racing even faster through your bloodstream.
  • Call 911. Even if you can get to the hospital faster, they need to notify the hospital to get the anti-venom ready. In our case they had to meet the next county over for more. Thank God for small town favors!
  • Remove watches, rings or bracelets. Anything that will constrict the swelling or that you don’t want cut off later.
  • If you can mark where the swelling started and what time it was. It helps them track how fast the venom is moving through the system.
  • Do not take Benadryl. They need to be able to give you any and every medication at the hospital and they don’t want it to be mixed with anything.
  • Do not suck out the venom. Or cut it out. Or slice it out. The potential to make things worse for the person who was bitten is much greater and could put you at risk as well.
  • Expect lots of Nausea! I think Mav puked at least twice on the way to town and maybe a time or two at the hospital.
  • Increased salivation and sweating after the bite are very common.
  • Swelling, bruising or blistering at the site happens quite quickly.
  • Be aware this summer and stay safe. Today Mavrick is a thriving 14-year-old boy so remember that it may look bad but it does heal after a while.

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