TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It started as a snake bite that could have been mistaken for a freckle. But it turned into a helicopter ride to a Flagstaff hospital, then a flight to a Phoenix ICU, all because of the anti-venom she believes its from her allergy to horses.
It was Alyson Redmond’s first time in the Grand Canyon, six days backpacking the North Rim with her dad and eight others. They stopped at Thunder River after a seven-mile hike. That’s when she felt something on her toe. “I never felt something like this,” said Redmond. “I definitely felt something go in and out, so we first thought it might have been a stinger that went in and out, a bee sting or a wasp.”
A night of sleep and a lot of swelling later, and Redmond was being flown out of the Grand Canyon. Paramedics convinced it was a snake bite. She was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center. But her problems got worse when she said she was given a higher dose of anti-venom. “Within the first ten minutes I actually had the reaction,” said Redmond. “I looked at the nurse and said ‘something is wrong’ and cause they’re wearing the mask you could see her eyes get huge.”
All anti-venoms are made from antibodies from animals. There are several different types. Redmond took the anti-venom that’s created from a horse, which is what she’s allergic to. “To get really sick on this is almost unheard of,” said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, a toxicologist who works in the Valley.
Dr. LoVecchio said this is so rare because all hospital-use anti-venoms usually don’t have a trace of the animal it came from. “In an ideal world, the amount of animal proteins you get is extremely small almost negligible,” sad Dr. LoVecchio. “But when you have bad allergies or potential allergic reactions then these things can happen.”
Redmond was rushed to Phoenix after she went into anaphylactic shock, and it could have been deadly. She recovered in three days after she said she received a different anti-venom, this one came from a sheep. “I can be around horses and not go into shock,” said Redmond. “It could be a happy coincidence.”