Suspected spider bite hospitalizes Kalihi woman for five days

Insect bite hospitalizes Kalihi woman five days
Published: Jun. 30, 2014 at 9:48 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 1, 2014 at 9:23 AM HST
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Woman hospitalized with possible spider bite
Woman hospitalized with possible spider bite
Mediterranean recluse spider
Mediterranean recluse spider

KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kalihi woman was continuing to recover on Monday from a mysterious insect bite, and she wants others to be aware about how to get medical help if the same type of situation happens to them.

This is what the bite looked like on the first day. It progressively got worse on day two and day three.

"I can give you gory details about having done first aid," said Teri Skillman, Ph.D., 55, from Kalihi.

Skillman spent five days in the hospital and is still on antibiotics. She thinks the bite came from a brown recluse spider whose bite that can lead to infection, amputation and even death.

"It was throbbing. I took (the bandage) off and the diameter had increased and got white welts around the edges of it," said Skillman.

The consensus is the brown recluse spider is not in Hawaii. However the Mediterranean recluse spider is.  It's the cousin of the brown recluse and also has a venomous bite that can cause severe problems.

"The places they occur tend to be under buildings, deep in the recesses where they eat termites and cockroaches and really would rather be left alone. The only way to really encounter one is to be digging in places where we rarely dig or to go into something like a cave," said Daniel Rubinoff, Ph.D., Entomology Professor at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

If bit symptoms include fever and chills along with the bite wound. Although entomologists say we don't need to worry about the spiders launching an attack.

"Your chances of having a problem with the spider that we have here in Hawaii is probably about the same as being struck by lightning," said Prof. Rubinoff.

Teri Skillman was struck by something.  Her advice to others…

"If you see that kind of bite just go to the hospital don't pop it.  Let the medical technicians take care of it," said Skillman.

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