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Stafford woman in spider bite horror

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 17, 2014

By Kerry Ashdown

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A STAFFORD mother suffering a massive leg wound has said she was bitten by a false widow spider in her bed.

Susan Haycock had to visit Stafford Hospital’s A&E twice and has been put on antibiotics to treat the bite, which has caused painful inflammation to her right calf.

Almost two weeks after the bite Mrs Haycock, 58, still has a weeping wound measuring around five inches by three inches.

The Kingston Hill resident said medics confirmed she had suffered a spider bite.

She contacted the Newsletter to urge fellow residents to be on the look out for false widow spiders, known for their distinctive white backs, as she does not want anyone else to be put through the ordeal she has suffered.

“There was a little spider on the wall the day before – it was between the size of a 5p and a 20p and I thought ‘that little one isn’t going to hurt’,” Mrs Haycock said.

“But it had got into my bed on the Thursday morning. I woke up and felt a bite on my leg, then my leg was really hurting.

“I went to A&E, then again the next day and I had to go again that evening to an out of hours GP because it was swelling up.

“I would hate anybody else to go through this.”

False widow spiders, believed to have arrived in Britain from the Canary Islands, hit headlines across the country last year after several suspected sightings and bites.

But they were first recorded in southern Britain more than a century ago, the county’s spider recorder Craig Slawson, based at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said.

“It’s only in the past few years they have begun to spread north. There is only one confirmed record of a false widow in Staffordshire and that was in Tamworth last year.

“To put it into perspective, a bite from a false widow is on a par with a wasp sting. Quite often the problems people have are associated problems, rather than from the bite itself.”

Dr Paul Woodmansey, Medical Director at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Despite several dramatic cases recently, false widow bites are not usually life threatening and most people will not have a bad reaction.

“The bite itself is not normally felt but is followed by varying levels of burning, discomfort or numbness and associated swelling in the area surrounding the bite

“If you suspect an allergic reaction, or symptoms are more serious, you should seek medical attention.”

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