A young father had a brush with death after he was bitten by a 3ft long adder in a London nature reserve.
Josh Rose was enjoying a picnic on Saturday with his two sons when he saw the reptile crawl into the bottom of his two-year-old’s pushchair.
The 27-year-old was bitten on the index finger when he tried to get it out and went into anaphylactic shock – a severe allergic reaction which can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
He told The Sun: “I was paralysed, my blood started to clot and I couldn’t speak, I was foaming at the mouth.
“I could hear everyone talking but couldn’t open my eyes or speak. It was horrible.”
The builder was treated at the scene by paramedics then rushed to West Middlesex Hospital where he was given anti-venom.
So severe was Rose’s reaction, he was taken to intensive care where his family feared he would slip away.
But 24 hours later he was released and on Wednesday told Huffington Post UK he was feeling “much better” after being treated with anti-venom.
Anti-venoms are antidotes to snake venom and contain antibodies which neutralise the effects of the toxins.
The adder is the only venomous snake in the UK, where around 100 bites are reported each year.
Death from adder bites are rare, with just 14 reported since records began in 1876, with the last occurring in 1975.
When adder bites deliver venom, they can cause localised pain, tenderness, swelling and bruising which can spread.
If a child is bitten, the effects can be seen across their whole body. Nine-year-old Tylar Butcher was bitten by an adder in the New Forest in 2011. After a small bite, her whole leg turned black and blue and she was rushed to hospital after a suspected allergic reaction to the venom.
The Health Protection Agency said almost all poisonings from adder bites produced relatively minor effects, but more serious cases could involve kidney failure in children, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, serious heart effects and even - very rarely - death.
The way to recognise an adder is from its distinctive zig zag skin and V-shaped marking on its head.
According to experts, bites can occur between February and October, most commonly in the warmer summer months.