Spider Bites Woman's Lip, Leaving Her Hospitalized and Hallucinating

A Virginia woman who was bitten in the face by a brown recluse spider has spoken about how she was hospitalized and hallucinating after the attack.

Sherri Maddox was kayaking along the state's Staunton River when the bite occurred on her upper lip.

Maddox didn't think much of the bite at first. By the second day she went to get some antibiotics from an emergency center. And by the third she was starting to get concerned, according to local Virginia news outlet Fox 8 WFXR.

Maddox told the outlet: "I thought I was going to die, you know, it was a lot of pain."

A couple of days after the bite, doctors decided the kayaker had been bitten by a brown recluse spider.

Brown recluse spiders are found throughout the south-central and midwestern U.S., according to the University of Kentucky (UKY) College of Agriculture.

The university adds that although the spiders are less common than perceived and bites are rare, the venom can be harmful.

While the spider's initial bite may be painless, the affected area may become red and swollen some hours afterward.

This will often heal within three weeks without serious complication, UKY states, but in some cases people may develop a necrotic lesion as the venom destroys the nearby tissue. This might look like a dry, bluish patch of skin often with a central blister.

Severe reaction symptoms may include fever, chills, dizziness, rash, or vomiting, according to Healthline. Severe reactions are more likely in children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.

UKY states that people who are bitten by a brown recluse spider should apply ice, elevate the area, and seek medical attention.

Maddox was thankful for the medical attention she got. She told Fox 8 she was admitted to a hospital in Bedford and that she even hallucinated on and off for five days of her hospitalization. She said she kept thinking that she was at a family member's home before realizing she was in hospital.

She said she "thought it was because of the pain meds they gave me, but I heard from several different people that that's what the spider venom does."

Newsweek could not confirm whether this is the case, though hallucinations have occasionally been reported following spider bites.

Fox8 reported that Maddox's swelling eventually went down and she is expected to be okay.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the brown recluse spider commonly hides in places like rock crevices in nature and in places like packed-away garments, little-used drawers and attics in homes.

Brown recluse spider
A stock photo showing a brown recluse spider, according to the author description. The spider's bite can destroy body tissue. benjaminjk/Getty