On Friday Sept. 2, Neeta Allagh, 38, was walking with her husband, Sushil Allagh, in the Fairfax Station community of Barrington when a copperhead snake bit her on the top of the foot. The two were out for a stroll in the community around 9:45 p.m. when Neeta Allagh thought she stepped on a stick, but afterward realized the top of her right foot had been bitten.
“I had never felt that much pain, ever in my life,” said Neeta Allagh of the bite and the swelling that the snake poison caused.
Neeta and her husband said that they could not believe that a snake had bitten her since they were walking on a path that many people in the community use and because they have lived in the area for 15 years. During that time, they had never seen a snake. However, when Sushil Allagh looked around for what had caused the bite he found a 5-foot copperhead snake.
“We did not know what kind of snake it was, so we were worried,” Neeta Allagh said.
THE COUPLE rushed to Access Fairfax for medical assistance, said Neeta Allagh.
“The people there said that it was probably an average garden snake bite,” said Neeta Allagh. They gave her painkillers and told her that if the swelling moved above her knee to come back. The next day the swelling had moved all the way up Neeta Allagh’s leg and she and her husband went to Inova Fairfax Hospital where she was taken care of immediately and was given a dose of the anti-venom.
According to Earl Hodnett, a wildlife biologist with the Fairfax County Department of Animal Control, copperheads are found throughout Virginia and may be Northern Virginia's only venomous snake. He added that copperhead bites are rarely fatal since the venom does not act fast enough for anyone bitten to be unable to make it to a hospital.
“Copperheads are not aggressive at all," he said. "They only bite when they feel threatened. Any snake will bite if you step on it."
Neeta Allagh said she is almost completely healed and that most of the swelling is gone from her leg. She hopes that people in the area will take her story to heart. “People in this area need to know that there are copperheads and that they should be careful,” she said.