What first resembled an average bug bite sent a 5-year-old to the emergency room, and now a Mendon, Massachusetts, family is warning others about their terrifying experience with a black widow spider.
Kristine and Josh Donovan first noticed a small, purple bruise on the back of their daughter’s knee last week, and first decided to keep an eye on it. Then Kailyn’s preschool called home, WCVB reports. She had developed a fever.
When the Donovans took their child to the pediatrician, doctors recognized the mark as a spider bite and directed them to the ER. A course of antibiotics didn’t improve Kailyn’s condition though, and the bruise started turning black. It took an infectious disease expert at UMass Memorial Medical Center to confirm the venom’s species: the infamous black widow spider.
“I didn’t know what to say,” Josh Donovan told WCVB. “It’s not something you would expect, especially in Massachusetts.” The species most commonly lives in the western and southern states, but black widows are found across North America.
Dr. William Durbin, the specialist treating Kailyn, believes the spider likely bit her in the family’s backyard. Its powerful poison actually caused necrosis, or cell death, on his patient’s leg. “She had a very distinctive bite, which was very scary for her parents and of course the doctors, too,” Durbin told the Boston Globe.
A 5-year-old Mendon girl who was bitten by a black widow spider is recovering. https://t.co/azg4SRjiHD pic.twitter.com/lAYmhqbM3V
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) June 12, 2017
Despite their reputation, black widow bites rarely prove fatal to most human victims, although small children and the elderly are at greater risk. According to National Geographic, the nonaggressive spiders only bite in self-defense, like when someone accidentally sits on them.
Kailyn is now on the mend, and she’s ready to get back outside soon. Durbin expects she will fully recover by next week. As for Kailyn’s parents, they’re thankful they trusted their gut and took every precaution.
“If you think it’s something, just keep looking for an answer,” Kristine told WCVB. “I kind of had a feeling it was pretty bad, and I just kept kind of pushing to have it checked out.”
If you suspect a black widow spider has bitten you or your child, look for two puncture marks. Pain will start at the bite area and then move to the chest and abdomen. While you should seek immediate medical attention, the Centers for Disease Control also recommends washing the wound with soap and water, applying a cold compress and elevating the affected area if possible.
Although fatal bites from both black widows and brown recluse spiders are extremely rare, there’s still a risk. Don’t ignore the signs, and see a doctor right away. It could save your child’s life.
(h/t Washington Post)
From: Good Housekeeping