Friday, July 22, 2011

Beware of reddened body parts, not spider bites so much

via fox 31 Denver
No, this is not a joke. There is a story today about how a 40-y-o man died of 19 black widow spider bites. They show a picture of the top of his foot with small bruises, but what alarms me more is the overall redness and swelling. That is a sign of a rapidly growing infection called cellulitis.

This happened to me once. I had a small cyst on my left upper arm that remained for years, not doing much. Two days after giving birth to child #4, I looked down at my left upper arm and it was red all over the bicep area, swollen and hot. Apparently what had happened was that bacteria from childbirth colonized the area and took over. If this had happened 100 years ago, I would probably have died. As it was, I got onto antibiotics and had the wound surgically cleaned. It was in such bad shape in there that it could not be closed and had to heal in the open position, leaving a roundish, deep, ugly scar. I suffered a lot because the wound was on the part of the arm where the baby's head lies while breastfeeding. I wore an ace bandage and changed the dressing regularly, but ouch!

I have also seen cellulitis on the lower leg of a neighbor. She and I were standing talking in front of her house, and she was standing on the raised portion of her planter bed. I could not help but notice that her shins were of two different colors. One was reddish-purple. I asked if there was something wrong with her leg. She told me she had just been diagnosed with a bad infection and was on antibiotics. I told her that sounded about right.

Bottom line is, this man probably did not die of spider bites. He likely died of a massive infection. Cellulitis turned into septicemia (blood infection) leading to death. Deepest condolences to his family.


Doom said...

It all sort of makes me wonder how any of us make it. Such simple things can kill. Well, if it was 19 spider bites, that is... Then again, not even that. I doubt if he just went and found a bunch of spiders to play with. It's so easy to die, and yet so difficult.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Oh the stories I could tell you about Black Widows, their bites, and surroundings. How about at our next "Bloggers Meeting" ... remind me.

LL said...

(Odie when will you come South again?)

Opus, it sounds horrible.

Debbie said...

A brown recluse spider bite can start as nothing more than a tiny red spot, but it makes the skin and tissue literally start rotting from the inside out. These must be treated immediately or you can lose an arm or leg.

Right Truth

Z said...

I know a plumber bitten by a black widow spider...he was hospitalized for a week or so; his blood pressure was over the roof, he very nearly died.
I had cellulitis, too, and what prompted a friend to ask "what's that red spot on your shoulder?" is still a mystery to me today because it looked so innocuous. And it was a bit of a miraclethat my doctor took me right in at 5:00pm...and said I could have died. GeeeZ
I'm glad you were okay, too, Opus, to say the least...that sounds BAD.

Trestin said...

I hate spiders.