Mum's warning after daughter, 6, rushed to hospital after being bitten by false widow spider in garden

A MUM has given a stark warning after her daughter was rushed to hospital after being bitten by a false widow spider in the garden.

Ayla Riddock, from Falkirk, Scotland, was just six years old when she was bitten on her foot and then contracted a deadly infection.

Her mum Kim Matheson, 28, noticed a blister and red rash on her daughter’s left foot and took her to the doctors.

Although Ayla was given antibiotics, the rash continued to spread across her foot and she was diagnosed with cellulitis – a skin infection that if left untreated, can turn into sepsis.

The six-year-old spent five days in hospital on an IV drip following the potentially deadly infection diagnosis.

Mum Kim, a waitress, said: “As we don’t have venomous spiders in the UK, people believe their bites are harmless.

“But my daughter developed a near life-threatening skin infection, and the doctor said that it was turning septic.

“Ayla’s just lucky she got treatment in time.”

In October 2017, Ayla was at home playing outside in the garden – but it wasn’t until later that night that she complained of her left foot being extremely itchy.


Kim noticed two small red marks that had appeared on her foot – but believed it to be only a midge bite and thought nothing of it.

After three days, a large, semi-circle shaped blister and red rash appeared on Ayla’s foot, so her mum took her to the doctor.

Kim said: “The GP confirmed it was a spider bite and Ayla was prescribed antibiotics, but after three days I still hadn’t seen any improvement and the rash continued to spread over her foot.”

Following her concerns, she took Ayla back to the doctor who believed it to be a false widow spider bite and diagnosed the girl with cellulitis.

Ayla was rushed to A&E at Fourth Valley Royal Hospital, Lambert – where she spent five days on a drip recovering from the bite.

The 28-year-old said: “At the time, there was a lot of news about false widow spiders in the area.

“Although they’re not venomous, Ayla still managed to contract cellulitis.

“If I hadn’t of taken her back to the doctors when it started to spread, the doctor said that it might have turned into sepsis, which could have been life-threatening.

“I was so worried.”

She added: “She improved day by day. But because her foot had blistered that badly, I had to keep her off school for a few weeks because she couldn’t walk.

“For about a year or so after, her foot continued to itch and it often got inflamed.

“The skin around it has definitely been damaged from it which often causes her irritation to this day.”

Now years on, Ayla, now 10, has a phobia of spiders and won’t go out of the house without shoes on.

Kim says: “Always wear shoes when you’re outside, you’ll never be too safe.

“I think a lot of people have disbelief that there are spiders in the UK that can cause harm.

"They may not be venomous, but their bites can definitely cause infection and could be life-threatening.”

Are false widow spiders dangerous?

There are over 650 species of spider known to live in the UK. Only around 12 of these are recorded as species that have bitten humans.

So, if you see a spider, the likelihood is that it is just a harmless, common British spider.

False widows are not the deadly spiders they are sometimes thought to be.

Although false widows do have a venomous bite, the venom is not particularly potent.

Usually the only symptom is pain at the site which may radiate away from the bite.

It ordinarily lasts between one and 12 hours, and rarely for more than 24 hours.

Often, the symptoms are no worse than the pain of a wasp sting.

The extreme side effects experienced are most likely the result of a secondary infection, likely bacterial, if the wound is not kept clean.

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