Alesha's fright after surviving death adder bite at Palm Cove
Close call: Alesha Mills is recovering at home after a snake bite. Picture: Brendan Francis
A PALM Cove mum says she is amazed the fighting spirit of her young daughter who has survived a bite from one of Australia's most venomous snakes.
Six-year-old Alesha Mills is now recovering at home after the 30cm death adder struck her toe on Friday afternoon, putting her in hospital for two nights.
“She's a little fighter,'' mum Rebecca Mills said yesterday.
The drama happened when the Peace Lutheran College student heard the family dogs barking near a fence at her home. She went to investigate and was bitten.
“I've never heard her scream so loud in her life,'' Mrs Mills said.
Alesha's foot was wrapped in a compression bandage and her mum dialled 000.
At hospital, blood tests failed to show any signs of venom, causing doctors to question whether she was actually bitten.
“It was only after they took her bandages off that she went downhill,'' Mrs Mills said.
After her leg began to swell and she started vomiting, doctors administered a venom detection test, which showed the bite was from a death adder.
“I was petrified to see a six-year-old in so much pain, she just deteriorated so quickly,'' Mrs Mills said.
Facing the risk of organ failure if untreated, Alesha was rushed to the Cairns Base Hospital emergency department, where she was administered an antivenene anti-venom treatment.
“There's a high risk of anaphylactic shock but luckily she went through it with no real reaction,'' Mrs Mills said.
She said snakes were commonly sighted around the family home, which is surrounded by thick bushland and near the Cairns Tropical Zoo.
“We live in the middle of the scrub so there's not much you can do about them,'' she said.
Cairns Snake Removals snake catcher David Walton said death adders were rare but tended to be found around the northern beaches. He said they were among the most dangerous snakes in Australia.
“The worst thing about a death adder is they're not quick to retreat when someone is coming,'' he said. “They rely on camouflage so if you're unlucky enough to walk past one it will often have a go at you.''
With slight paralysis in her foot, Alesha is now on a dose of steroids to treat the effects of the antivenene.