Spider Bite While Asleep Leaves Teenage Girl Fighting for Her Life

An 18-year-old girl had to be rushed into surgery after being bitten by a suspected false widow spider in Wales, U.K.

Abby Tannetta was on vacation at a trailer park resort in Cardigan, West Wales, with a friend to celebrate the end of her studies. Tannetta had been to the resort many times before as her parents own a trailer there.

But on the first night of her recent vacation, on May 26, she woke up with pain under her arm and saw a spider in her bed. Tannetta told SWNS: "I woke up with a sharp pain that woke me from my sleep, looked next to me and I just saw this giant spider running away from the bed.

"It was really sore and just got worse. It got bigger, it was very red, itchy and so sore that I couldn't move my arm or sleep on the side."

After running from the room, she went back in but couldn't find the spider and so was too scared to sleep in her room that night. But she later managed to catch the spider in a plastic container and took a photo of it—and she believes that it could be a false widow spider.

She said that she felt "dizzy and weak," and that her heart was racing. The lump under her arm had also grown to the "size of a golf ball."

Tannetta took antihistamines to fight an infection from the bite, but the lump under her arm continued to grow and become more painful. Three days later, she went to the doctor and was given antibiotics.

She was told to visit the emergency room if pus started leaking from the wound—which it did, two days later. At the emergency room, Tannetta was told that she needed surgery or else the wound could have caused sepsis.

Under general anesthetic, the doctors removed the lump and drained the infected area. She returned home the next day and has had the wound repatched every day by a nurse.

Tannetta said: "It's been difficult. I've been in such a lot of pain whilst recovering. The pain is a lot better now. After the surgery, I felt like I'd been stabbed, but it has died down now and I'm just uncomfortable instead."

"False widows are not the deadly spiders they are sometimes thought to be," according to The Natural History Museum, which says that although they are venomous, the venom is "not particularly potent."

The museum says that the pain from the bite rarely lasts for more than 24 hours, and that "extreme side effects experienced are most likely the result of a secondary infection, likely bacterial, if the wound is not kept clean."

Furthermore, according to Science Daily, the symptoms of a false widow bite can include "mild to debilitating pain and mild to intense swelling" as well as "tremors, reduced or elevated blood pressure, nausea and impaired mobility."

Additionally, Science Daily reports that: "in rare instances, victims have developed minor wounds at the bite site or had to be treated for severe bacterial infections."

False widow spider
Stock image of a false widow spider. A woman was bitten by a suspected false widow spider in her sleep in Wales, U.K. Steve Hardiman/Getty