A Newmarket woman has warned of the dangers of false widow spiders after she was left struggling to walk or talk after being bitten by one.
Fifty-two-year-old Michelle Marriott, who lives in Duchess Park, said she was bitten twice on the back of her head about a month ago as she was in her garden taking down a hanging basket.
“I knew nothing of the bites until the next morning when I woke with a three inch round swelling on the back of my head which was like a sponge,” said Michelle.
“An ambulance arrived and thought that I must have either had a stroke or blacked out and hit my head. The hit on the head was soon ruled out and after initial tests for a stroke, this was also ruled out by the hospital.
“I had difficulty walking, understanding speech and speaking myself. It was an incredibly scary time.”
Blood tests revealed Michelle’s white blood cell count was high as it was trying to fight something.
“It was the venom,” she said. “It was around this time that the two bites were discovered. A 10-day course of antibiotics ensued together with strong painkillers to deal with the headaches and swelling. I have been left with hard swelling on the back of my head.”
Michelle said it seemed the spider has spun its web from her garage’s eaves to the hanging basket and had dropped on her as she moved it.
“I love gardening and was only cutting back my hanging baskets when it had obviously come off the foliage on to the back of my head and bitten me twice. I am now terrified of getting in my garden to do some work but intend to do what I can to eradicate the cobwebs where they appear, under the eaves on our garage,” she said.
“We did, see a false widow spider on our garage some 18 months ago and checked on the internet to identify it so we were aware they were around but certainly not in my wildest dreams did I think I would be bitten.
“The funny thing is that I am an Australian who has lived in this country for 30 years; we have some of the most dangerous spiders in the world and I have never experienced anything like this in my country but, instead, get bitten in my back garden in Newmarket.”