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Spider bite led to leg being amputated, woman says

A mother of three in West Memphis, Arkansas, says a spider bite ended up costing her a leg."I was seeing my li...

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 6:08 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 6:08 AM

A mother of three in West Memphis, Arkansas, says a spider bite ended up costing her a leg.

"I was seeing my little cousins off to prom and their dad was like, 'Why are you limping? What's going on?' " Kiara Boulton told CNN affiliate WREG. "So I showed him my foot and said 'I think I got bit by a spider.' And he's like, 'Well what kind do you think it is?' And I said, 'a brown recluse.' "

Brown recluse spiders are common throughout the central and Midwestern United States

Experts say the bites typically heal after being cleaned and monitored by a doctor

A diabetic since she was 10 years old, Boulton went to the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was instructed to visit her primary care physician who prescribed her medication for the bite, she told WREG.

Boulton told WREG that her toe became black three days after the bite. She returned to the hospital and was told it had to be amputated, one of seven surgeries Boulton said are a result of the spider bite.

The hospital was unable to speak directly about Boulton's case.

"Saint Francis-Memphis is committed to the health and well-being of our community," the hospital said in a statement. "While we are unable to comment on a particular patient's case due to privacy laws, after a hospitalization or emergency room visit, it is vitally important for patients to follow their discharge instructions, take prescribed medications and attend all follow-up care appointments as part of their journey to recovery."

To help her get through the ordeal, Boulton told WREG, she said to herself "three kids, Kiara. Three.

"God wouldn't have let you have them if you weren't supposed to be here for them. Fight through this. Fight through the pain."

Treating and preventing spider bites

Brown recluse spiders are commonly found throughout the central and midwestern United States, said Neelendra Joshi, an assistant professor in the University of Arkansas Department of Entomology.

A bite from a brown recluse spider can be fatal in rare instances, but the spiders are typically not as aggressive as other species, Joshi said. But they will bite when they're trapped against our skin, he said.

"They have necrotic venom and as you see that's pretty poisonous and that can result in the premature death of blood cells," Joshi said. "It's considered one of the most poisonous house spiders in the United States."

After a spider bite occurs, the victim might or might not feel pain within a few minutes or hours. A rash can surround the bite and potentially spread to the rest of the body. The central dark area of the rash is what causes the tissue to die.

Treatment for brown recluse spider bites will be targeted for specific symptoms, such as antibiotics to treat infection or antihistamines to treat itching.

Dr. Donna Seger, Tennessee Poison Center medical director and professor of clinical medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said bites should be washed and allowed to air dry.

"There are a lot of urban legends about spider bites," Seger said, adding that she has seen patients slather on tobacco, coffee grounds and horse salve in her 30 years of treating spider bites.

After a bite, a small number of people will have a systemic reaction that will cause a fever, rash and the breakdown of red blood cells, Seger said. That can require a blood transfusion.

She recommends checking in with a doctor to confirm the type of bite and make sure it's healing properly.

However, people with diabetes have an entirely different immune system in healing, Seger cautioned.

"If you're talking about any kind of lesion or any type of skin disruption in a diabetic, they have a much higher chance of amputations," said Seger, who was not involved in Boulton's treatment. "Amputations themselves happen in diabetics without any type of cut or lesion."

To prevent spider bites, Joshi recommends removing spider webs and clutter, controlling various household insects and sealing crevices and openings between walls and corners to control spider populations. As additional protection, people can use sticky traps, chemical spray or dust insecticides that continue to work for extended amounts of time.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113081

Reported Deaths: 3231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
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Lamar221238
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Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
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Warren153655
Monroe147372
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Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
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Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
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Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
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George97718
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Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
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Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
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St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
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