death or superherodom?
August 30, 2007 10:04 AM   Subscribe

So I woke up this morning with a few bug bites on me which isn't unusual in the summer in Manhattan with the window open, but... one of the bites is kinda weird...

This is what it looks like with the bite at the top left and then this weird pink slightly inflamed trail leading down diagonally across my chest. Is this a) normal or b) the work of a radioactive spider? If b), when can i expect super powers to kick in? Or is it actually c) when pink inflamed bit reaches heart I die?
posted by merocet to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Not sure about your bite, but here's a data point from the "not gonna die" camp. I woke up last week with a bug bite that turned into a HUGE, gnarly bruise on my hip. It was very obviously a bite, since it had a raised, red, bitelike epicenter, and I would have most DEFINITELY remembered acquiring a bruise of that size. Anyways, it finally faded away and I've lived to tell the tale.

Your body is probably tougher than what that little spider can dish out, but if you start feeling sick or the marks get worse, I'd go see a doc stat.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:16 AM on August 30, 2007

I guess my one concern would be whether or not this streaking erythema represents a cellulitis (soft tissue infection). I've seen these from spider bites, although not within the time frame that you describe.

It's probably not 'a' and it's likely not 'b'. To avoid 'c', see your doctor. You may need some antibiotics.
posted by scblackman at 10:17 AM on August 30, 2007

Seconding scblackman. When a bite streaks like that, some kind of venom is at work. Most of the time, you're way bigger than that venom can really hurt, but if it happens to be one of those necrotizing venoms, you could be in a lot of trouble if you don't get it treated now. My mom had to have months and months of debridement on her foot when a teeny tiny spider bite proceeded to kill all the tissue around it.
posted by headspace at 10:26 AM on August 30, 2007

My first thought was, "Brown Recluse," but their bites are usually not so comet-like. In any case, best policy is to keep an eye on it and poke at it every now and again w/ your finger to see how it feels. Excessive inflamation or swelling are excellent signs that you should see a doctor about it, as are undiminishing or increasing pain and drainage of any kind. If it swells, DON'T poke it with a pin to relieve the pressure. Also, see your doctor if you begin to feel unduly fatigued.

In short, see you doctor if it doesn't get better on it's own.

Also, if you suddenly find yourself able to scale walls and shoot webs from your wrists, please capture the bug that did this to you and email me.
posted by Pecinpah at 10:28 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

You might want to get a small Sharpie and mark where the comet tail ends, that way you can tell if the streak has grown or not in a slightly less subjective manner.
posted by nekton at 12:32 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

A while back, I woke up with several huge/swollen and mysterious bites on the tops of my feet. One of them looked just liked that. All the bites went away in a little over a week and everything was fine. YMMV, of course.
posted by Adultivity at 12:04 AM on August 31, 2007

If it were a brown recluse (necrotizing venom) it's more likely to present as a large blister, followed by the top of it falling off, followed by a huge bedsore looking thing (that's the cellulitis part) that takes two to three months to close, and that's if you don't need surgery. The blister would be there within 12 hours or so.
IANAD, but been bitten by a brown recluse twice. I have no educational expertise in this area, but I'd bet you a large sum of money this was not a brown recluse.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 4:00 PM on September 1, 2007

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