Mum’s terrible injuries blamed on bite from UK’s most venomous spider

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A mum-of-two has told how she suffered from agonising pain after a spider bite which left her leg swollen and filled with pus.

Nonetheless, mum Delyth Hughes believes that her encounter with the False Widow spider, the UK's most venomous species, could have been much worse.

The 29-year-old told how her leg became numb and she began experiencing pins and needles before the site around the bite became bruised and swollen, filling with pus, NorthWalesLive reports.

Her friends and family started to become increasingly concerned, and eventually Delyth went to have the bite examined.

“They persuaded me to get it checked out,” said Delyth, from Prestatyn, Denbighshire. “I’m glad I did, or it might have ended with a different story for me if the poison had spread through my body.”

Delyth thinks the arachnid bit her as she was sitting with her dad in his tractor at the family farm in Caerwys, Flintshire.

She was wearing shorts at the time and recalls how she felt a "sensation" of something crawling on her leg but didn't see the culprit or feel any sharp pain like she had been bitten or stung.

It was only later that night that she realised what had happened. “My leg was getting really painful. It was throbbing badly and I began feeling nauseous. I had a terrible headache and I was suffering from dizzy spells.”

When she examined her leg she found two puncture wounds next to each other, with the surrounding area already becoming bruised, with the colour deepening over the following days as the wound started swelling.

Friends advised her to try bathing her leg to provide some relief, but it didn't have any effect at all.

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“My leg was still numb with a kind of pins-and-needles feeling,” said the single mum.

Five days after being bitten, Delyth went for an appointment at Holywell Community Hospital where the wound was lanced and drained, and she was given an antibiotic prescription.

“The staff told me I was lucky I had come in when I did as the poison was still in my blood,” she said. “I was told to leave it for a couple of days and, if it didn’t improve, I would need to go on IV antibiotics.”

The pus may have resulted not from the venom itself but from a secondary infection after the bite, and Delyth soon found that she wasn't alone.

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“The hospital staff told me they’d seen a few people recently with the same symptoms. They suspected they were all caused by spider bites – probably from a false widow.”

The False Widow is the most venomous spider in the UK. Despite delivering a nasty bite they are nowhere near as dangerous as their antipodean cousins, having a bite closer to a bee or wasp sting.

Nonetheless, the spiders should not be treated flippantly as they can still cause nasty post-bite infections, and some bite victims may have a more severe reaction to the venom than others.

According to experts, symptoms can include pain, swelling, nausea, tremors and altered blood pressure.

Michel Dugon, from the National University of Ireland in Galway, said: “In addition to their medically significant venom, noble false widows are extremely competitive. This species is here to stay, and we must learn how to live with it.”

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