A Bongaree woman who, in order to respect her privacy, I shall refer to only as T in this article, has recently suffered ongoing pain and other serious medical issues due to what her doctor believes may have been a bite from a white tail spider. ‘After what I have been through, everyone needs to be extra vigilant and make sure that they always check inside their clothes and any other areas which may conceal a spider,’ T told me. ‘I would hate for anyone to suffer like I have,’ she said.
T’s episode began after she had donned a tracksuit which had been hanging on the clothesline and she described how, when she put the tracksuit pants on, she felt a sudden bite in the area of her crotch. The area of the bite began to swell and take on a very red appearance and, following a visit to her doctor who was not sure about the cause and prescribed a course of very strong anti-biotics, T attended the hospital where she spent a total of eighteen hours before returning home.
Two days on and with the swelling and pain increasing rapidly, T was transported to the hospital by ambulance and was told by paramedics that they had never encountered anything like her condition. ‘Three weeks after the bite, I am experiencing a massive amount of cellulitis and some of my organs are not working properly,’ explained T. ‘My doctor has said that the bite was most likely from a white tail spider,’ she said. Studies have revealed that this species of spider prefers to hide in places such as bedclothes, towels and clothing so it does seem likely that T’s doctor is on the right track but, whilst there are many who believe that the white tail bite can result in serious consequences that include necrotic arachnidism (flesh eating spider bite), there is a considerable amount of research which suggests that no victim of a white tail spider bite has suffered any ongoing consequences.
So, whilst there is a chance that T was the victim of something other than the white tail spider, her advice about checking for any creepy crawlies should definitely be heeded. A couple of minutes checking in popular insect hiding places could save you from a lot of pain.