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Home   Medway   News   Article

Strood housewife Alison Blackburn warning others about false widow spiders after being left in intensive care

20 January 2014
by Lynn Cox

Alison Blackburn was bitten by the most venomous spider in Britain while in bed at her home in Bryant Road.

Within three hours, her leg had swollen so much she could not get her foot in her shoe.

Alison Blackburn, of Bryant Road, Strood, was bitten by a false widow spider

Alison Blackburn, of Bryant Road, Strood, was bitten by a false widow spider

The 49-year-old was prescribed antibiotics by her GP, but within hours was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Ms Blackburn ended up in intensive care and needed an operation to drain the spider's venom from her foot.

She is now recovering at home, but said the ordeal left her frightened to sleep in her bed as the spider has still not been found.

Alison Blackburn's foot after she was bitten by a false widow spider

Alison Blackburn's foot after she was bitten by a false widow spider

Her nightmare started on Friday, January 10 when she woke at about 4am with sharp pain in her stomach.

When she got up at 6am, her partner Gary Pelatt noticed her foot was red - but she said it did not hurt.

Just a few hours later, her foot and ankle had swollen so much she could not get her shoe on so she hobbled down to her nearby GP surgery.

Ms Blackburn said: "By this time I was feeling very unwell.

"I kept going hot and then cold. I was shivering and I was in a lot of pain."

A rash spread up Alison's leg

A rash spread up Alison's leg

Alison Blackburn's foot was so swollen she could not get her shoe on

Alison Blackburn's foot was so swollen she could not get her shoe on

Alison's foot after she was bitten

Alison's foot after she was bitten

She was given a prescription, but the swelling quickly got worse and she was taken to hospital, where she was administered antibiotics through a drip.

"I really don't think I would still be here if I'd not got to the hospital when I did..." - housewife Alison Blackburn

Ms Blackburn said: "They put pen marks around the swollen areas on my foot and leg and said I could go home, but if the rash and swelling moved over the pen marks, I had to go back."

Just a few hours later, the swelling and rash had spread to her pelvic area and an ambulance was called.

Ms Blackburn added: "I felt so sick. I had pins and needles in my leg, it was throbbing. I was slurring my words.

"I had to have an operation to get rid of all the poison in my foot."

After her operation, Ms Blackburn was told by doctors she had been bitten by what was probably a false widow spider.

A false widow spider

A false widow spider

She said: "I'm sleeping on the settee. I'm never getting back in my bed as we've still not found the spider.

"I will have to have the house fumigated. I really don't think I would still be here if I'd not got to the hospital when I did."


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Ms Blackburn added: "It's been traumatic. People need to know how dangerous these spiders are – they can be lethal.

"I'm still in shock and that spider is still around somewhere."

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