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Published October 18, 2011, 09:22 AM

Detroit Lakes Woman Gets Scare When Bitten By Venomous, Jumping Spider

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — Rita Alaniz got a pre-Halloween scare she likely won’t forget anytime soon.

By: Paula Quam, Forum Communications

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — Rita Alaniz got a pre-Halloween scare she likely won’t forget anytime soon.

As she was walking through her kitchen this past week in rural Detroit Lakes, she said she noticed a spider inching toward her 1-year-old nephew.

It wasn’t a typical spider, though, and she said there was something about the way it was moving that creeped her out.

“It was moving sideways back and forth,” Alaniz said, adding that her first instinct was to jump in front of her nephew.

“And when I did that, it put its butt up in the air, jumped straight up, and when it landed, it spread its feet out,” Alaniz said, “then it started going to the side really slow.”

Before she knew it, Alaniz said the spider jumped up again and attacked her foot, biting her twice.

“It didn’t feel like a normal spider bite, though, it felt like somebody stabbed me.”

Alaniz said the thought of the spider getting away to potentially bite her or one of the children in the house was scarier than the thought of scooping it up in her hands.

“I picked it right up and stuck it in a jar,” Alaniz said, “I didn’t kill it because I thought it was a black widow or something, and I thought if I squished it, they wouldn’t be able to identify it.”

A funny feeling

Alaniz said that instantly, her foot started to feel funny.

She said her first thought was to try to get some of the venom out, so she said she shaved off the raised part of the bite, stuck her foot in bleach and started squeezing the area.

But soon, that funny feeling in her foot turned to pain.

“The pain worked its way up,” Alaniz said, “within an hour, it was up to my knee, and then it was went all the way up my leg to my back.”

Then, she said “I felt nauseous and dizzy; I had a headache, and I just kept sweating.”

Alaniz said because she was closer to the Perham, Minn., hospital by that time, she went to urgent care there, where she said they put her on antibiotics, gave her pain medication and identified the spider as the venomous red-backed jumping spider — a California spider known for being fearless, painful, full of venom, but not deadly.

“They told me they had never seen anything like this in Minnesota,” Alaniz said. It’s supposed to be native to like California. This just doesn’t happen in Minnesota, especially this time of year.”

Alaniz said between her and the taff at the Perham hospital, they narrowed their suspicions to a box of bananas Alaniz said she brought home from Wal-Mart.

“So, I called them and told them what had happened, and they were glad I called because they were going to go and check the rest of their crates,” said Alaniz, who admitted she can’t be positive that’s where the spider came from.

Earlier in the week, the spider was still locked up tightly in the jar it was shoved into after the bite.

“They (hospital officials) were going to call the University of Minnesota to see if they want it,” Alaniz said, “the cap is screwed on pretty tight, though.”

And not far from it in Alaniz’s kitchen now sits a whole new arsenal of spider spray.

“It’s a female, so I don’t know if it had babies somewhere or something,” she said looking around her house, “It’s just creepy. I had two spider nightmares last night.”

Meanwhile, Alaniz said as of Tuesday, she still had pain in her leg and a headache and was still sweating.

“I just keep thinking, ‘what if it had bitten one of the kids’,” Alaniz said, “That would have been a lot more serious.”

Alaniz said she was told by the doctor that her quick actions with the bleach probably helped her.

She said she’ll spend the next couple of days watching for infection and naturally, looking for spiders.

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