A mother-of-two was left fighting for her life after being bitten by a spider during a trip to a garden centre.
Tracey Vincent had been sitting with her parents sipping at some hot chocolate at the Bybrook Barn in Kent when she felt a nip on her foot, but thought nothing of it at the time.
But two days later the 51-year-old had to be rushed into hospital after she fell unconscious at her home.
Once she arrived in hospital the full extent of the bite became clear and she was given a 50 per cent chance of survival.
Medical staff found two marks which appeared to be made by fangs on Tracey’s leg, and believed that she had been bitten by a false widow spider.
Whilst mostly harmless and nowhere near as deadly as their namesake, these spiders can nonetheless be dangerous to some people.
Tracey was bitten while wearing sandals, and the venom had formed blisters on her leg and caused it to swell, the Daily Star reports.
“I was with my parents just having a relaxing time at the garden centre, I was having a hot chocolate and it felt like something had pinched me on the foot and within seconds my whole leg just went numb,” Tracey told Metro of her ordeal back in October 2018.
“I carried on drinking and I had pins and needles for a few minutes, and it went. In the evening there was a puffy, purple area with fluid.”
Tracey took pain relief on the advice of her doctor’s surgery receptionist after failing to get an appointment.
Two days later she began to feel unwell and took herself to bed as she was shaking and shivering.
She doesn’t remember anything after that, but explained how he husband rushed home after failing to get hold of her on the phone, finding her unconscious and calling paramedics.
She added: “The next thing I knew they were at my bedside hooking me up to intravenous drips and I was rushed to hospital with sepsis.”
Tracey spent three weeks in the hospital, admitting she fails to remember much about the events of the first week.
Her blood tests returned showing an infection rate of 97 per cent and she revealed it was touch and go whether she would survive.
“My leg was red and burning, with blisters the size of tennis balls,” she said.
“It swelled to 63cm in diameter and the pain was horrendous.
“The consultants said it was a spider bite, probably a false widow as there had been a spate at the time, but they’d never seen one as severe as mine. It nearly took my life, this spider.”
Even now, fours years later, Tracey still suffers with an ongoing swelling disorder know as oedema.
Her case is not the only one involving a false widow in the UK.
A spokesperson for Bybrook Barn said: “We remember the customer in question.
“At the time we did a thorough search of the area and found no evidence of any false widow spiders.
“We have also had no incidents prior or since the customer made us aware that she may have been bitten whilst shopping with us.”