PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Temperatures have been climbing and there's been a huge spike in people getting admitted to the hospital because of snake bites. One tourist learned about that the hard way.
There's been a huge spike in people getting admitted to the hospital because of snake bites. It's that time of year again - and officials are warning outdoor enthusiasts and hikers to be aware of their surroundings.
Banner Health is reporting that they're getting snake bit victims almost on a daily basis now. Six victims have come in in the last eight days. One woman told us her bit was so bad, her doctor has gone through almost 30 vials of anti-venom to treat her.
44-year-old Kaija Johnson came all the way from Vermont to escape the cold and go on a five-day hiking trip in the backcountry. She told us she was warned about the snakes in Arizona and kept her eye out - but still got bitten.
"I cam out of the river wash and I didn't actually see the snake until I was on the bushes, on the other side of the trail," Johnson said.
She was just one day into her trip when it happened. At first, she told us she didn't feel much pain - just shock. And she didn't think it was a big deal - at first.
"[I thought], 'Oh, they'll send me to a local clinic and I'll be back on the trail,'" Johnson said.
Johnson had to walk more than a mile to get help and then the pain started.
"Imagine squeezing your leg as hard as you can and twisting it just a little bit," Johnson said.
Johnson says she later found that she was truly in a life and death situation after talking to health professionals. She was then transported to Banner Health. As for getting back on the trail, Johnson says her doctor told her it will be a while.
"That was probably [what] was most surprising and discouraging," Johnson said. "They said that it would probably be a good six weeks before I was up and about again."
Health professionals say it's important for victims to get help as quickly as possible, ideally in less than 30 minutes.
And it's not just Arizona - snake bites are gradually on the rise in the US as a whole. According to the CDC, it's been estimated that 7- to 8,000 people get venomous snake bites in the US now. About five of those people end up dying.