DOCTORS were forced to administer anti-venom to a 10-year-old boy after he was bitten by an adder in Studland.

Lewis Paxman had been holidaying with family in Purbeck when the snake, which had been basking in the grasslands between Agglestone Rock and Knoll Beach, struck.

In the immediate aftermath the lad's grandfather, Neil Paxman, managed to flag down a passing ambulance, which took his grandson to Poole Hospital.

Lewis' mum, Sarah Paxman, said: "He didn't see the snake until it was too late.

"The decision was taken to give him anti-venom because of the severity of the symptoms.

"I stayed with him overnight while he was admitted to Acrewood ward in the children's unit."

After a short stay in hospital, where emergency medics also administered antibiotics, painkillers and closely monitored him, Lewis was discharged.

However, because of the swelling he needed to use a wheelchair to get about for a week, but is now on the road to making a full recovery.

Mrs Paxman explained: "Our family was on a week long holiday, staying in Swanage, and it was our last day.

"We are from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and the family has been holidaying here since my husband was a child."

It was earlier this month when Lewis had been walking with his sister Matilda, aged eight, his dad, Oli, and grandfather.

After he was bitten, dad Oli dialled 999 and grandad Neil ran to the road to wait for paramedics. While he was there he flagged down an ambulance on its way to another job.

Mrs Paxman said: "The ambulance reversed approximately 300 metres down the sandy track to reach Lewis who was laying down as advised by the emergency call handler.

"His sister was holding his hand and looking after him along with his dad.

"Oli and Lewis were brought to Poole Hospital and Lewis would like to thank the ambulance crew for their kindness and reassurance at a very frightening time.

"Lewis was observed closely in A&E, and had painkillers for his very swollen and painful leg.

"The doctors and nurses were kind and caring, and took advice from the national poisons information service.

"The decision was made to give anti-venom because of the severity of the symptoms."

Adders are cold blooded, so they need the warmth of the sun to give them energy.

This is why you can sometimes find them out basking in the sun, says Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT).

DWT and the Urban Heaths Partnership advises people walking on heathland from March to September to wear sensible shoes, keep to paths and carry a mobile phone to call for help. If you do get bitten you should go straight to hospital.

Adders are the only venomous snake native to Britain, but no-one has died from an adder bite for more than two decades.

With proper treatment the worst effects are nausea and drowsiness, followed by severe swelling and bruising in the area of the bite.