CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - A woman living in the Quail Hollow area of south Charlotte is recovering from a copperhead bite after encountering the snake on her porch Friday evening.
Lisa Romanoff posted a Facebook photo of the copperhead at 6:45 p.m. Friday, with a note that read: "This snake just bit me. Hurts! Is it poisonous????"
The response to the photo was a resounding "Yes!"
Romanoff ended up in an area hospital for 12 hours and in a lot of pain.
"I was too busy screaming for help to faint," she posted. "Not a fun night, and I have some healing ahead, but I survived … Doc just said I'll be on crutches for 5 to 7 days."
The bite happened while Romanoff was taking out her recycling. She believes the snake had come out to find a warm spot. It was lying on her stoop, and she stepped over it in a pair of flip flops. It bit her on the heel.
"I felt a sting. I took two steps to the driveway and I was immediately hopping on one foot, and blood was coming from my foot," she says. "Then, I turned and saw a snake and started screaming."
Romanoff was taken to the hospital, and she says the pain was "excruciating" within three hours. Her foot swelled to three times its normal size, she says.
"My treatment is 'aggressive elevation.' Have to keep my leg straight and elevated above my heart so the venom doesn't pool in places like behind my knee," she said on Facebook.
Romanoff has been told she got lucky, because the snake only got one fang in her. She has now taken to Facebook to warn others it could easily happen to them.
"Many more (snake bites) this year due to all the rain," she wrote on Facebook Sunday. "Copperheads typically come out at night to find warm spots – which is exactly what happened in my case."
Snake bites have been on the rise in North Carolina this year, but experts say the likely cause is the mild winter weather. The number of North Carolina residents bitten by snakes in April increased nearly four-fold over the same period in 2016, reported Carolinas Poison Control Center. The center said copperheads are the most plentiful venomous snake in the state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 7,000-8,000 people per year receive venomous bites in the United States, and about five of those people die.
It's the second time this year that someone in south Charlotte has reported a copperhead bite. In April, a man living in the Ballantyne area reported a bite while doing yard work. The snake was curled up and disguised among some logs the man was trying to move.
Romanoff said her husband, Fred, killed the three-foot copperhead with a shovel. But it did not die easily.