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Spider bite causes agony for Basingstoke woman with arachnophobia
A BASINGSTOKE woman who suffers from arachnophobia needed medical treatment after she was bitten by the UK’s most venomous species of spider.
Christine McCullins was left in agony days after being bitten by a spider – believed to be the noble false widow – in a Kempshott garden as she enjoyed a family barbecue.
Initially, she didn’t realise she had been bitten and, on finding the small bite on her left leg the next day, she presumed it was from a mosquito and treated it with over the counter cream.
But her leg became increasingly itchy and swollen and after a week she went to Hantsdoc, where doctors confirmed the bite was from a spider and prescribed antibiotics.
Christine, 54, said: “By that time, my leg was extremely swollen and painful, and although the antibiotics helped with the bite, I had developed cellulitis.”
The serious skin condition meant she had to return to the doctor for stronger antibiotics, but it still took around three weeks before the swelling subsided.
Christine, who lives in Oakley, said: “The funny thing is, I’ve been absolutely terrified of spiders all my life – I have a real phobia of them.
“I just remember feeling a scratch but not thinking much off it. I thought I must have scraped my leg on the wall. I’m just really glad I didn’t actually see the spider itself.”
After doing some research on the internet, she is fairly confident that the spider which bit her is the noble false widow, as the bite looks similar, and the noble false widow is one of the few spiders in the country that bite.
Stuart Hine, an expert from the British History Museum, said the spider has been established in Hampshire and along the south coast of England for more than 30 years. They are thought to have come into the country from abroad through ports where there are shipments of bananas.
Mr Hine said: “If handled unwisely or accidentally, adult Steatoda nobilis – the formal name for the false widow spider – are capable of biting humans.
“Reports from those bitten describe a certain amount of pain and often a degree of swelling in the affected part.
“These symptoms may last for a couple of days but the total effect is unlikely to be more serious than that. However, if symptoms were to persist, it would be advisable to seek medical attention.”
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