Most of us love a beautiful, warm summer with good times. Having a lovely meal outdoors, going to a lake or forest, long walks on a beach… life doesn’t get much better than that!
But sadly, with all that extra time spent outdoors, summer does comes with certain risks — a fact that 3-year-old Kristoffer Nordgarden painfully experienced first-hand.
Elisabeth Nordgarden is the mother of an energetic little boy named Kristoffer. Like the most of other children his age, Kristoffer loves being outdoors.
From picnics to games, children love being outdoors, where they can run and play freely. But, there can be danger lurking in your own backyard.
With summer comes a lot more barefoot time too, increasing the risk of injury through accidentally stepping over something sharp… or even wildlife.
But when 3-year-old Kristoffer ran to his mother Elisabeth Nordgarden one day, tears running down his face, she initially didn’t think it was anything too serious. She never imagined that she was about to face one of the most dramatic events that she had ever experienced.
”Me and the boys were visiting my grandparents,” Elisabeth said.”Then Kristoffer began to cry a little and climbed onto my lap. We thought he had been stung by a wasp or scratched himself on a branch.”
Nordgarden could never have imagined that that weekend would end up being one of the most dramatic she’d ever lived.
After 15 minutes, Kristoffer’s foot started to swell and turn blue. He had stepped on something alright, and it was wildlife too — but it was much worse than a wasp. She’d soon realize he hadn’t been stung, but rather, bitten.
“The ambulance and helicopter arrived quickly. They kept saying it was a viper snake bite and we were transported to a hospital,”says Elisabeth.
Kristoffer promptly got an antidote and thankfully started to show signs of recovery. His vital signs were ok, but suddenly, he got worse. Much worse. It turned out that the boy had internal bleeding in his intestine.
Doctors measured Kristoffer’s blood value and found it at 5 (11 is the standard). The boy had also quickly lost weight — he’d gone from 44 pounds down to 33.
Soon, the mother understood how serious the situation was, and that’s when she really began to worry. Every body’s response to a viper snake bite can be different, kids are typically most vulnerable and at risk for deadly reactions.
It’s important to remain calm and if ever bitten by a viper snake, emergency room doctor Harry Achterberg said. This goes for all venomous snakes, not just vipers, so know which ones are prevalent where you live.
During cooler months, vipers’ metabolisms are lower and they remain hidden, but as the sun comes out and warmer temperatures fill the air, so do the venomous creatures.
“Vipers are much more active in the summer. More people are also out in nature, and therefore there are greater chances of encountering one,” Petter Bøchman said.
It is therefore wise to wear shoes or boots when you are outdoors in any are where vipers might be present.“More respect for vipers”. After one and a half weeks at the hospital, Kristoffer finally recovered and was able to go home. He survived, but the days were extremely difficult.
Apart from everything, the 3-year-old seems to have taken the horrific experience well.
He began playing the day he went home. Elisabeth, says that she will certainly be more careful in the future.“I have much more respect for vipers now and I will ensure that my kids are wear boots when they go out in areas with high grass in the future,” she says.
One should always be respectful of wild animals and in this weather, it’s wise to be extra cautious with vipers. Prevention is the best way to make sure your own wellbeing as well as that of your loved ones.
Know that during cooler months, snakes tend to hide more, but when it’s warm, they could be anywhere, enjoying the sun’s rays just like you. So, it doesn’t hurt to take a quick look around the yard before letting the kids run loose.
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