A MUM-of-four has revealed how she was hospitalised and endured two operations after being bitten by a garden spider.
Lauren Boddy, 27, from Reading, a town in Berkshire, England, was sitting on the loo on May 11, 2017, when she spotted a red mark on her left leg.
"I thought it was just a spot. I gave it a little prod and squeeze, but thought nothing more of it," she told The Sun.
But the next day, Lauren was in agony. "I could barely put any weight on the leg," she said.
"The spot got redder, bigger and looked like it was full of pus, but nothing would come out.
"It was really bizarre. I've never seen anything like it in my life."
Lauren went to have it checked out at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
Doctors asked if she had been abroad, prescribed her with antibiotics and sent her home.
But, two days later, Lauren became more ill.
"I was shivering, had a red line running down my thigh and the bite area was oozing pus," she said. "Scared, I went back to the hospital, where I was admitted."
Lauren was put on an antibiotic drip and surgeons told her they needed to operate.
"They had to cut all of the bite out. It was about 10cm deep. It was quite painful," she said.
"It was such a big hole that they had to pack it, it couldn't be stitched. I had to go back every other day to have it seen to. I was on antibiotics for a month afterwards."
While in hospital, Lauren's mum Lisa, 50, and ex-boyfriend Luke, 25, looked after her children, Nathaniel, six, twins Morgan and Rowan, five, and Luca, two.
They spotted a lump on Morgan's head and took him straight to the GP where he was given medication.
Meanwhile, Luke was hospitalised for two days after being bitten by a spider on his testicles.
When she returned home, Lauren blitzed her house and bleached the children's playhouse, fearing that was where the spider was lurking.
"That was all we could do. But I knew it was hiding somewhere at home," she said.
A few weeks later, as her leg began to heal, Lauren was lying on her bed cuddling Luca when she felt a bite on her back.
She raced to hospital and was operated on the next day.
"This time, surgeons had to take a chunk of skin from my lower back, even removed some of my tattoo. I was gutted," she said.
"The wound is quite deep, about 7cm. It's not very nice. I've been left with bad scars on my leg and back."
A couple of weeks later, Lauren was at home playing with her kids when she spotted the eight-legged critter on a dressing up outfit.
She grabbed a glass and managed to trap the spider.
"As I looked at the spider, each time I moved the glass it curled up, putting its legs under its big, cream bum," she said.
"Going online, we tried to work out what it was. With reddy-ginger legs and a big creamy, white body, it appeared to be a woodlouse spider."
Lauren considered sending it off to an insect expert to be identified, but feared it would escape.
"I was a bit hysterical by this point," she said. "I was so scared my children were going to knock over the glass that I hit it with my slipper.
"Cruel? I think not. I had a huge plaster on my back, a scar on my thigh. I couldn't bear to think what'd happen if that thing bit me or one of my kids again."
Lauren says the incident has traumatised her family.
"I've noticed a few house spiders but, I know it sounds cruel, if I see any spider now I kill them. It horrifies me. I'm worried they'll come back," she said.
"You wouldn't think it would happen over here. The hospital kept asking me if I'd been to a foreign country.
"Mums need to be very, very vigilant. People are too laid back.
"I know kids should be able to go out and explore but you need to be vigilant, to see what they're picking up and what's around. It's really scary."
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission.
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