"I looked in the mirror and there was a little red spot, put the jeans on and went to work and didn't think of it until the next day it started getting tight. I started having a headache all day and didn't think that was connected," Audrey White said. "I have a pretty good pain tolerance, so I wasn't thinking about it at first."
White says she didn't know right away what bit her two weeks ago. As her concern grew over the growing bite on her leg. A well-timed routine checkup confirmed she'd been bitten by a brown recluse, the spider known for its flesh-killing venom.
"Missouri and brown recluse spiders go hand-in-hand, in fact most of our neighboring states. There have been some regional increased reports of spider bites this summer," Dr. John Brown, MD of Mercy Hospital said.
Brown said most brown recluse bites bring a small reaction, including some pain, redness and swelling. Some of them can be much more serious.
Brown said some of the symptoms can be flu-like, while others can leave scars behind.
"More significant signs would be if that bite site is increasing in size or redness, if there's puss developing or someone's having a fever, or if there's tissue destruction," Brown said.
White wishes she would've known about the other signs sooner.
"I noticed it on Friday morning and had it lanced that following Thursday," White said. "(It was) probably the worst pain I've had yet. I've smashed fingers and broken a wrist, but that was by far the worst."
Brown said other skin issues, such as staph infections, can mimic spider bites. He said anyone who notices a quickly progressing issue should see a doctor to have it checked out.