*As creepy as it sounds, its a reality that we get bitten by bugs even while we are in bed. I’m not talking about bad housekeeping. I’m talking about those hot summer months; when a house with no air conditioner must rely on an open window – and mosquitoes, ants, crickets and god-knows-what gets through that screen on the window. Next thing you know, you’re awakened by something crawling and you’re swiping it off your arm or face.
This is what happened to one woman, who suffered much more than a bite by a bug. She was actually paralyzed and spent four days in the hospital after being bitten in her sleep by a spider. And the creature left something to remember it by: a nasty hole in her arm from its venom.
Now 21-year-old Lauren Reid is being tested to determine the type of spider that bit her on October 20.
“I was in my bedroom asleep when I felt something crawl across my left arm,” she said
“I pushed it off and noticed something sticking out my arm. It looked like a thick black hair.
“I pulled it out, cleaned it up and went back to sleep.”
By the morning the small, red mark on Reid’s arm had swollen to a huge lump.
She went to the doctor and got a prescription for antibiotics and said the wound looked like an abscess.
While the doctor advised the meds would kick in after a few days, Reid was experiencing shooting pains in her arm and a friend persuaded her to go to hospital. She also experienced sickness, drowsiness and hot and cold flushes.
“I was in an unbelievable amount of pain,” she said. “My arm was paralyzed and stuck in an upwards position.
“If I tried to move it, it felt as though my arm would rip off.”
“When we arrived, the doctors looked stumped. I don’t think they had seen anything like it, which was really scary.”
Reid ended up spending four days at Good Hope Hospital, where she was treated with intravenous antibiotics.
“I think if I hadn’t listened to my friend and gone to hospital, I may have had to have my arm amputated,” she said.
“I was deteriorating very quickly.
“I’m back home now, but I don’t even want to go to sleep in my bedroom.
“I’m shaking now just thinking about it. I’m scared to be on my own.”
Insect experts say Reids serious injury was probably the result of a bacteria being introduced into the site of the wound.
Matt Shardlow, chief executive of the insect conservation charity Buglife, said: “It sounds like an infection. It could be that a spider’s bitten her and that that spider’s had a bacteria on its mouth.” Mosquitoes could also be responsible for this kind of bacterial infection, he said.
“While the mosquito itself is unlikely to infect you, people sometimes scratch it with dirty fingernails and introduce a bacteria,” he added.