Bite victim is even more scared of spiders now

False widow spider. Below, Carin Wawman, who is now even more scared of spiders

False widow spider. Below, Carin Wawman, who is now even more scared of spiders

  • by Jackie Turley

Carin Wawman has always been terrified of spiders.

And being bitten on the hand by a false widow spider while looking through books at the Eastern Civic Amenity Site, in Douglas, last week has done nothing to allay her fears.

Carin, aged 40, of Hillside Avenue, Douglas, is a regular visitor to the civic amenity site with her mum.

‘I was looking at some books on a table and felt a sharp sudden pain in my hand,’ she said.

‘I looked down and saw a big spider and flicked it off, and a man stamped on it quickly.’

Within 20 seconds Carin’s hand started to swell and she was shaking.

She showed the dead spider to a member of staff to see if he had seen one like before.

He hadn’t – and advised her to go to Noble’s Hospital’s accident and emergency department.

It was there that she was told the spider was a false widow – Britain’s most venomous type.

She was given anti-histamine tablets, and was told the effects of the bite could last a couple of weeks.

Almost a week after the incident, Carin said: ‘It’s still sore every now and again and a bit numb.’

The shock she received from the incident is bad news for any spiders that cross her path: ‘Every single spider I see now is getting squashed.’

Carin, who works at Sweets ‘n’ Treats, in Strand Street, Douglas, realised that on pavements she was now walking closer to the road to avoid any spiders in the bushes, and she has told her husband that he will be doing the gardening.

Immediately after the incident she told her mum it was the last time she would be going to the civic amenity site.

Since then, she has changed her mind: ‘I will go to drop recycling in. I just won’t touch anything!’

The recycling sheds – where residents reclaim unwanted items – was closed off after the incident on Tuesday last week while environmental health officers fumigated the area.

The sheds re-opened to the public on Saturday.

A DEFA spokesman said: ‘False widows are British spiders and there are four native species, three of which are in the Isle of Man.

‘The two biggest species are the Steatoda nobilis, which isn’t found locally but is implicated in most of the reported bites of false widows in Britain, and the steatoda grossa, which is found in the island and can also bite but this has rarely been reported.

‘There are few other spiders in the island that bite, so if the lady was bitten by a spider, it is possible it was the Steatoda grossa, the males of which are only up to 7mm long and the females of which measure up to 10 millimetres, excluding their legs.

‘On the rare occasions false widow spiders bite, the effect is usually – unless the person has an adverse reaction – the equivalent to that of a wasp sting in that it’s painful for a short time but there are no lasting ill effects.’




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