5-Year-Old's 'Purple Bruise' Turns Out to Be Potentially Deadly Spider Bite

girl bit by black widow spider

It's not uncommon for kids to come home from an outdoor adventure with a mark many parents assume is just an ordinary bug bite or a bruise. But not all blemishes are created equal, and some could prove to be extremely dangerous. Kristine and Josh Donovan of Mendon, Massachusetts, are speaking out after doctors diagnosed their 5-year-old daughter's mysterious purple bruise as a black widow spider bite that could've had serious consequences if left untreated.


At first glance, the "purple, little tiny bruise" on the back of Kailyn's leg didn't look too menacing -- or incite alarm. But over the course of a week, the little bruise Kristine and Josh thought was a simple insect bite started turning black. Experts now say that was the spider's venom starting to spread.


black widow spider bite
WCVB Channel 5 Boston/YouTube

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To make matters worse -- on top of Kailyn getting a fever, the 5-year-old's pediatrician and emergency room doctors couldn't exactly pinpoint what was wrong with this poor girl.

"They knew it was a spider bite," mom Kristine reveals to WXII 12 News. "They didn't know what [kind of] spider bite, so they gave her some antibiotics."

Luckily, doctors at the UMass Memorial Medical Center were eventually able to determine a black widow spider bit Kailyn, which, naturally, left her parents completely dumbfounded.

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"I didn't know what to say," Kailyn's dad, Josh, tells WXII 12 News. "It's not something you would expect, especially in Massachusetts. I've never seen it."

Though LiveScience notes that black widow spiders rarely cause death, they do pack a venomous punch that's reported to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake bite. The thought of a small child being bitten by one of the most venomous creatures in the world is truly terrifying, and it just proves even the most unimaginable dangers can be closer than you think.

Thankfully, Kailyn is doing much better these days, though that's not stopping her mom from speaking up about the importance of trusting your gut and never thinking an insect bite on your child is no big deal. 

"If you think it's something, just keep looking for an answer," Donovan says to WXII 12 News. "I had a feeling it was pretty bad, and I just kept pushing to have it checked out."

Thanks to her vigilance, her daughter is okay and now thousands of other parents know what one of these dangerous bites looks like.

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