5-year-old girl unable to walk after being bitten by false widow spider

A five-year-old girl found herself unable to walk after a bite from ‘Britain’s most dangerous spider’ left her covered ‘literally head to toe’ in rashes.

Lily Hodgson, aged 5, didn’t realize she’d been bitten when she complained to her mum about pain in her ankle and difficulty walking. However, by bedtime, her face began to itch, prompting her parents to give her antihistamines, assuming it was an allergic reaction.

Later that night, her mum Genna Hunt was startled to find Lily covered in rashes. She recalled, “I woke at 3 am as Lily felt hot next to me. I put the light on and nearly screamed at her poor face. I woke her up, and she was covered in this strange rash literally head to toe. The worst it got was when the itchy rash was in her hair and all the way down to her toes, which was 24 hours later. Her ankle did hurt the next day, and she did refuse to walk on it.”

Genna, 34, took Lily to their local pharmacy in Eastleigh, Hampshire, the next morning for professional assistance. She said, “I just presumed it was a food allergy and would go away shortly. The pharmacist took us into a little side room and had a look, and asked some questions. I did mention her ankle hurt – by this point she wasn’t walking on it, but it wasn’t swollen. He said he suspected it was a bite reaction rather than a food allergy and that he would like her to be seen by a GP urgently.”

They were seen by an on-call paramedic who suspected it was a false widow spider bite, considered ‘widely regarded as the most dangerous spider breeding in Britain.’

“We have no idea when she was bitten or what she was doing at the time,” said Genna. “That day she had been at my parents playing indoors, walked the three-minute walk home to ours, and then played indoors at our house.”

Lily was already on antibiotics and antihistamines for tonsillitis and ear infections, so they continued with that treatment. Genna wonders if the reaction would have been worse if Lily hadn’t been on antibiotics and antihistamines already.

Despite the discomfort, Lily coped well, and her rashes cleared up after four days. She expressed disappointment that the bite didn’t give her superpowers ‘like Spider-Man’.

Genna now remains vigilant against false widows and advises others to do the same. She said, “I’m now extra paranoid of any spiders in the house. Lily has been told to come get us if she sees any spider in her room and to not pick any of them up.”

She added, “Honestly if you have any type of rash, especially one like Lily’s, then please get it looked at. Pharmacists are trained in rashes and they are available to see by just popping into a pharmacy and asking to see them.”

Despite their bad reputation, false widows are unlikely to attack unless provoked or trapped between clothes and skin.

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