Recently, my daughter woke up with a strange bite on her foot. The swelling became pretty severe so my wife took her to the doctor. The doctor told her that since the bite had a white “head”, like a pimple, and was causing red vein-like streaks to appear on her foot that it was a brown recluse spider bite.  He instructed her to take our daughter home and DO NOT ice it. He said that icing it would only make the blood flow to the area slow more. He also stated that if her toe started to turn red, white or blue to take her to the ER immediately. The doctor also felt the need to show my wife pictures on Google of people who had been bitten by a brown recluse spider. The pictures showed rotting flesh wounds and cases where amputation was necessary. Not something a mother that is already worried about her four year old wants to hear. He did state that it would be a worst case scenario but not to panic for now.

If you have children, or a pulse, you are already scared to death! No one wants to hear the worst case scenario when it comes to their children unless it is absolutely necessary. My wife did not want to take any chances and was heading to the ER when she called to fill me in. Luckily, the pest control company that I work for, Northwest Exterminating, has a Board Certified Entomologist on staff.  I suggested that we let him see our daughter first and get his recommendation. Within 5 seconds of looking at the bite on my daughter’s toe he pointed out that here was only one, not two heads. If there would have been two heads then that would indicate a spider bite but this was simply a fire ant sting.

He went on to explain that the way a person’s body reacts to a bite or sting is the key. You can’t always judge it based on the first appearance, this causes people to mistake it for something it’s not. As you know, people react differently to bee stings, mosquito bites, flea bites, etc. This was simply a case of someone judging the appearance of the reaction and making an assumption that we all react the same. He also pointed out that the doctor should have been paying more attention to how my daughter was acting instead of just looking at the sting. She was all smiles and happy as ever. If it would have been a brown recluse bite she would be showing symptoms of sickness and/or fatigue.

As an exterminator myself, I must admit that I was a little embarrassed for being worried.  But again, when it comes to your children, no one wants to assume anything. I was relieved that it was nothing severe and yes, happy I didn’t have to pay an expensive ER bill to find out it was a simple fire ant bite. After two days, the swelling went down and her toe was back to normal. My daughter was only upset that she had to go back to school after two days of nothing but hanging out with mommy.

Austin Milligan
Alpharetta Service Center Manager
Northwest Exterminating
[email protected]

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