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Quick-Acting Spider Bites Bicycle Rider

Or Maybe This Was Some Other Kind of Bug

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Updated February 01, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Quick-Acting Spider Bites Bicycle Rider
(c) Philip Pugeau
This image is courtesy of Philip Pugeau. Philip relayed this account:
This is my spider bite I received at 6 pm, 9-24-09, close to Lake Baldwin in Orlando, FL. I was out riding my bicycle on a 30 mile trip, going down a sidewalk with small trees in a row in a neighborhood. The next moment, it felt like I got shot with a BB gun. That's what I thought for the rest of the 3 miles back to my car. Now, I've felt wasp stings, fire coral, bee stings, ant stings, etc, ... this thing really hurt and was way worse than a hornet. I feel bad for any insect that has to endure that, because it is some potent toxin.

It started out with a really small red dot, about the size of the little black area, then grew to a pea-sized lump in a few minutes. About an hour later, a quarter-sized area of swelling formed around the red dot, with a fist-sized redness around that. The next day the red dot turned white, with a dark red ring around it (probably the liquefied remains of my leg), and the large red spot started to appear like a hickey as in the photo that was taken at 30 hours after bite. It doesn't hurt now, but it did for a good 6-8 hours after it happened. I went to the walk-in clinic doctor; he prescribed antibiotics.

It's interesting that Philip mentions all the other types of bugs, but still attributes this lesion to a spider. We are almost conditioned to blame spiders for everything, when it's much more likely another critter got to Philip, especially since he was on the move. Philip will never know what bit him. It could have been a spider, but it could have been any number of other things -- including possibly a plant.

Any opinions expressed here are for educational purposes only and are not intended for diagnosis.

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