A British girl was left unable to move her legs last month after she was bitten by a mysterious spider while she slept.
Phoebe-Lee Matthews, 10, woke up one morning with a large black dot on her lip, which her mother initially thought was a wart — until five days later when the wart had become larger and darker.
“The bite was really black with brown spots in it and it had a white ring around the black spots,” the girl’s mother, Rachel Wilson, told Kennedy News. “It was also red where it was swollen.”
Wilson said that two days after the mark appeared on her daughter’s face, she noticed an odd spider in the house.
“It was like a pinky-orange color with a weird-shaped back,” Wilson said. “It was a really unusual spider and I’d never seen one before. It went out the window.”
The worried mother took her daughter to the doctor where she managed to get some antibiotics and cream to help stop the wart from swelling.
According to the girl’s mother, the wart popped after a few days and started oozing “white gunk” into her child’s mouth before scabbing over, leading the family to believe the ordeal was finally over.
“The fluid was a mix between clear and white pus,” recalled Wilson. “I asked how she was and she was like ‘it’s leaking mom, it’s leaking in my mouth’ and it was all crusty as it was trying to dry.”
The next morning, Matthews woke with a skyrocketing fever and later collapsed as she was coming down the stairs.
“I woke her up and asked her to come downstairs for her antibiotics and she said ‘Mum, I don’t feel well’,” said Wilson. “I felt her head and her arms, body and legs were all boiling hot so I put a thermometer strip on her forehead and it went straight to 104.”
According to Matthews, she could not feel her legs — which sent her mother into a state of shock — and was immediately taken to the hospital.
“I was panicking,” her mom said. “I thought she had sepsis from it and was worried she was paralyzed. I was thinking ‘how long is this going to last for?’”
Doctors and a dermatologist concluded that Matthews had been bitten by a false widow spider, the UK’s most venomous spider.
Matthews managed to fully recover from the ordeal — but is permanently scarred.
“It’s left a hole in her face,” her mom said.
The incident has also left a profound impact on her and her mother, who now has to check every corner before she goes to sleep.
“She’s back to her normal self now but it has scarred her. She’s panicking every night when I put her to bed,” said her mother.
“I’ve got to pull the blinds up, look in the windows and check in between the curtains.”
“I’m constantly checking every room,” she added.
Wilson said that any parents who notice a black spot on their child should take immediate action.
“I’d tell other parents that if they see any spiders to get them out of the house quickly, don’t even risk it,” exclaimed Wilson.
“If they see a black spot, get them straight to the doctors for antibiotics.”