A MELBOURNE man could end up losing all four of his limbs after a bite from a white tailed spider became seriously infected.
Terry Pareja was visiting relatives at Birchip and was unaware he was bitten on the right leg until it began to swell 24 hours later and caused him to walk with a limp.
There was no doctor available on the weekend at Birchip, so he was forced to wait until Monday to seek medical advice.
After a visit to his sister’s doctor Mr Pareja was rushed to Wimmera Base Hospital in Horsham and had emergency surgery to amputate his right leg.
A spokesperson from Wimmera Health Care Group could confirm the first amputation done at the Wimmera Base Hospital in Horsham was performed to treat a necrotising skin infection.
But the infection had progressed.
“They get in on washing or hide in clothes on the floor. They leave ulcerated bites and the skin can corrode"Horsham Pest Control's Bryan Chapple
Mr Pareja was then airlifted to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne where his left leg was amputated.
When contacted by the Stawell Times-News a spokesperson from the Alfred Hospital said he was in a stable condition and could not provide further details of his injuries.
His sister, Raquel Ogleby, said it could take between 12-18 months before the father of two returned home.
“Last week we met with doctors and they said he will need time and rehab as well and the whole process could take that long,” she said.
“He has been in hospital for 34 days, but he is slowly getting better.
“We will be looking to move house because he will need a bigger space to move.”
Ms Ogleby said her brother’s kidneys were not working and was being aided with kidney support machinery.
She also feared for his arms after doctors conducted surgery to clear more infected skin.
“I am not sure how well his arms are doing,” she said.
“That is what I am scared about because they didn't look too good last time.”
But Ms Ogleby was determined to see the positive at a time of turmoil for her family.
Wimmera Filipino-Australian Club president Marivic Vix co-ordinated a garage sale at a club member’s Stawell residence where up to $2285 raised went towards Mr Pareja’s medical costs.
“We do not know these people, they are strangers to us,” Ms Ogleby said.
“We need help right now and this is very touching, there is still humanity in the world.”
Horsham Pest Control owner Bryan Chapple said demand to exterminate white tailed spider clusters was high.
“They are quite plentiful at this time of year,” he said.
“They get in on the washing or hide in clothes on the floor, often when you shake clothes off from the floor a white tailed spider falls out.
“They can leave ulcerated bites and the skin can corrode.”
How to recognise a white tailed spider
Characteristics of the creepy crawlies include:
- having a cylindrical body
- being from 1 cm to 2 cm in length
- being dirty grey to brown colour
- having glossy legs
- a characteristic light coloured grey or white spot at the ‘tail’
- two similar spots near the front of the body might also be present
Where white tailed spiders like to hide in your home
The white tailed spider is found in homes throughout Australia. It tends to be more active during summer. Favourite hiding spots include:
- towels or clothes left on the floor
- nooks and crannies
- beneath mulch, leaves and rocks
- beneath tree bark
Symptoms of a white tailed spider bite
People are most likely to be bitten on the arms or legs, but can be bitten anywhere. Symptoms of a white tailed spider bite can include:
- localised irritation, such as a stinging or burning sensation
- a small lump
- localised itchiness
- discolouration of the skin
- ulceration of the bite (in some cases)
- nausea and vomiting (in some cases)
What to do if you’re bitten
Always try to keep the spider for identification purposes if you have been bitten. First aid suggestions to treat a white tailed spider bite include:
- apply an icepack to help relieve swelling
- see your doctor if the skin starts to blister or ulcerate
Information via Better Health Channel