A mum who was left ill for three days after going swimming in a UK pond has told how the mystery illness suddenly cleared up – when a spider crawled out of her ear.
Mirror journalist Ros Wynne-Jones says she went wild swimming while on holiday with her family in Devon – and fell ill soon after.
Ros was left feeling nauseous, and with a strange rustling sound in her ear, after the holiday trip.
Writing in The Mirror Ros said: “I’ve had the misfortune to go to casualty a few times in my life, but this week was the first time I’ve ever heard an A&E triage nurse scream.”
Ros was told to go to casualty when she called 111 after a spider crawled out of her rear – the operator said someone would need to “check for eggs and legs”.
Fortunately doctors found nothing left behind, but diagnosed Ros with an ear infection, and labyrinthitis.
Ros says her trauma started when she went swimming while on holiday in Devon.
She said: “It didn’t seem like a very dangerous activity – I’ve swum in Rwanda, survived the Sudanese and Kosovo wars, camped in the Australian bush and worked and travelled all over Africa and South America.
“Afterwards, my ear was a bit clogged with water. The next day I felt really sick, which I put down to staying up late around the birthday campfire drinking rum.
“But three days later I still had nausea and my ear ached.
“On the Thursday, we went on a hilly car trip into Dartmoor, which altered the pressure in my ears.
“The result was almost indescribable. My ear started banging, cracking, whistling, and a feeling I can only describe as rustling.
“I stopped being able to communicate with anyone, let alone continue giving map directions.
“The nausea was horrendous. I got out of the car spinning, grabbing at my ear.
“At this point I felt something emerging from it… I assumed at first it was wax. But no. It was moving, and its legs were still kicking. It was a spider.
“Not a small spider but a thick-bodied spider.
“The nausea immediately lifted, and I felt fine, except for being a bit traumatised.”
Hours after the spider emerged Ros began to feel ill and was then sent to casualty.
She said: “I’ve got an ear infection maybe where the spider bit or scratched me, and my balance still isn’t quite right. My ear is full of antibiotic drops, but I am, if I’m honest, still half expecting babies to emerge.”
The UK water spider -Argyroneta aquatic – can be found in any still water at any time of year, spinning a web beneath the water surface.
It collects air on the fine hairs on its body then fills the web beneath the surface with an air pocket by scraping the bubbles off.
They wait inside the air chamber for passing prey before rushing out to catch it.
The British Arachnological Society says the spider is one that ‘can and will bite’ people and the bite is ‘not unlike a bee sting’