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Painful spider bite leaves its mark

Mark Nyman got more than he bargained for when he was playing with his new puppy on his deck, in Val Therese, Sunday. For the second time in his life, Nyman received a painful spider bite that left a mark on his skin days later.
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Mark Nyman said he was playing with his new Rottweiler puppy Brick on his deck Sunday when he was bitten by a spider that left him in intense pain. He still had a rash on his neck from the bite on Tuesday. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.
Mark Nyman got more than he bargained for when he was playing with his new puppy on his deck, in Val Therese, Sunday.

For the second time in his life, Nyman received a painful spider bite that left a mark on his skin days later.

When he felt something on his neck, his instinct was to smack it with his hand. That turned out to be a mistake, because the spider was able to sink its fangs through his skin in the process.

“I immediately felt a burn like a bee sting,” Nyman said. “It just started to escalate from there.”

Within an hour, he started to get a headache and feel hazy.
His skin turned red and started to bubble slightly, while the burning sensation increased.

Nyman self-medicated with a topical cream and some painkillers.
Two days after the bite, his neck still showed signs of redness, similar to razor burn or a rash.

Nyman was able to inspect the dead spider, and after a bit of research, determined it was probably a yellow sac spider.

He said the spider's abdomen, which was almost translucent and yellow, seemed to match images of yellow sac spiders he had found online.

His symptoms also matched the descriptions he had read about regarding the spider's venom.

According to Pennsylvania State University's department of entomology, the yellow sac spider was introduced from Europe, and can now be found in much of the northeast United States and parts of Canada.

“The yellow sac spiders probably account for more human bites that any other type of spider,” said a description on the department's website.

Most bites from the spiders are relatively painless, but for people sensitive to the spiders' venom, they can be quite painful.

In those cases, the burning sensation usually lasts for up to an hour, with a rash and blistering occurring over the next 10 hours.

“Some patients may exhibit systemic reactions with fever, malaise, muscle cramps, and nausea,” the description continued. “These symptoms are similar to black widow bite symptoms, but are much less severe.”

Nyman also has first-hand experience with a black widow spider bite. He said a black widow spider bit his hands four years ago, near his former Minnow Lake home, and still has a small scar from the experience.

After half his body felt numb, he brought himself to the hospital emergency department, where he immediately received anaphylaxis treatment.

He said the black widow spider bite was much more painful than his more recent encounter with a yellow sac spider.

Science North and Laurentian University were contacted to about yellow sac spiders, and their presence in Sudbury, but did not respond by deadline.

Jonathan Migneault

About the Author: Jonathan Migneault

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