Tulsans Warned About Spider Bites

Monday, July 13th 2009, 6:46 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- They call it the dog days of summer, but the bites you really have to worry about aren't from man's best friend -- they're from poisonous spiders.

Many people across Green Country already have the battle scars to prove it. 

Spider eggs hatch during hot summer months and there are tens of thousands of baby spiders popping up in the Tulsa area.

April Moses is a typical college kid.  Working a fast-food job to help pay for school and hanging out with friends. Her summer changed late last month.

"I rolled over and something pinched me and I thought it was a needle in my bed," said April Moses, a spider bite victim, "And I was like,'why is there a needle in my bed?'"

But it wasn't a needle. She was bitten by a brown recluse spider, indigenous to Green Country. Not deadly, but painful.

"The pain started the next day. It felt like hot lava all over my arm, uggh, it was bad," said April Moses.

She went to the ER, but day after day, it got worse.

"It felt like someone was squeezing my arm, just like constant squeezing.  And then it felt like my blood, I guess the venom makes it really hot, so it felt like something was eating my arm. I was like, ‘mom something's eating my arm,'" said April Moses.

She has been to the doctor five times over the past 25 days.

"They're very shy, you expose them, they run," said Aaron Goodwin of the Tulsa Zoo.

Aaron Goodwin is the Tulsa Zoo's bug expert. He says the brown recluse and Oklahoma's other favorite crawler, the Black Widow, are not aggressive and only bite when pressed against skin.

"They're definitely a species of concern, medically," said Aaron Goodwin.  "They're going to be in dark places, places you don't use very often."

Goodwin says getting bit is just bad luck, but for OSU sophomore Aaron Goodwin, she says it's the beginning of a lifelong war.

"I let them go before, now I'm not going to let them go anymore.  They're all goners," said April Moses.

April Moses has a doctor's appointment in a few days to schedule a skin graft on her arm.  The News On 6 spoke with physicians who say they treat bites like that all the time. They say they do heal, it just takes up to two months.