Spider bites worry students

by Staff

David J. Olender / Assistant Photo Editor

Two freshmen living in the University Towers residence hall have recently been bitten by spiders, with one confirmed as a black widow bite.

Freshman Halee Hines lives on the second floor of UT and said she went to see a doctor when she noticed a blister on her leg about two weeks ago.Hines said she received blood test results that confirmed the source of the bite to be a black widow spider.

“I know it happened in my room because I hadn’t left that day,” Hines said. “It’s kind of freaky because I’m convinced it’s in my box spring.”

Hines said her mother has tried to reach the university about replacing the box spring but has received no response.

Gina Jacobs, media relations manager of San Diego State said any students experiencing similar problems should submit a formal service request to their respective residence hall. The UT service request can be found online at www.universitytowerssdsu.com.

According to Tom Halladay, the UT building manager, each room in UT is sprayed annually and again upon receipt of a service request. He said he has seen no influx of reports of spiders in the dorm.

A second freshman living on the sixth floor of UT said she was also bitten by a spider and experienced redness and pain about one week ago.

“It was the entire back of my leg, it got all red and swollen,” kinesiology freshman Hannah Simon said.

Simon said doctors have not confirmed whether or not it is a spider bite, but are fairly certain it is.

Hines said she was scared about the bite because black widow bites are known to be fatal.

Although black widows contain venom, oftentimes they do not inject any into the bite. In the past 10 years there has not been a black widow-related death in the United States, according to the California Poison Control System Web site.

Both students have been treated with medication and have since shown improvement in the amount of pain and swelling.

Hines said she is doing better but will still have to see doctors for the next six months for checkups.

“It’s going to leave a scar about the size of a quarter on my leg,” Hines said.

The CPCS describes a black widow bite as a pale area surrounded by a red ring. Common symptoms of a black widow bite include weakness, sweating, headache, anxiety, itching, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and increased blood pressure.
“It was painful through the whole thing. When my hands swelled up it was really painful,” Hines said.

According to the CPCS, black widows prefer to live in warm areas such as southern California and seek out dark places. Only the female is dangerous and can be identified by a red hourglass shape on its body.

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