Disease & Illness

A Venomous Spider Bite Left A Hole In This Voice Contestant’s Face

Meghan Linsey opens up about her spider bite. Here's how you can protect yourself.

Fans of “The Voice” know Meghan Linsey as a judge favorite who wowed them with covers of songs like “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Amazing Grace” and “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

Now, the runner-up in 2015’s Season 8 is giving a personal, behind-the-scenes look into her life, opening up to her fans about a horrific encounter she had with a venomous spider and touching off a discussion about just how dangerous brown recluse spider bites can be.

I know I've been MIA on social media for a while, so I wanted to fill you all in on what's going on. These pics are hard to share, but I think it's important for me to be open with you guys. Everything isn't perfect all of the time. We all go through hard stuff. So, 9 days ago, on February 12, I woke up to a stinging sensation on my face. I looked and in my right hand was a dead spider. Somehow while I was sleeping, a spider had bit me and I had killed it. This scenario is literally on the top of my nightmare list. The stinging was awful and I knew it had to be poisonous. I put the spider in a bag and headed to urgent care. Over the course of the last 9 days, I have experienced the most insane symptoms. From excruciating nerve pain in my face, muscle spasms, full body rash, extreme swelling… etc. It has really been rough. It has been confirmed that I was bit by a brown recluse spider, one of two of the most poisonous spiders in the US. I am still dealing with the wound on my face, but I finally found the right meds to control the nerve pain. I know I'm not out of the woods on this yet, but I am so incredibly grateful for my health and I will never take it for granted again. Your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated. I will be getting back in the studio this week, to work on the new record! I can't wait to finish it. And I can't wait to get back on the road on March 9 & 10- I will be playing in Alaska! And PLEASE, if you live in area where these spiders are, do some research and learn how to protect yourself! I know this is not common at all, but better safe than sorry! Love you all! Xo Meg

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Linsey, of Nashville, explained on Instagram that she was jarred awake by a stinging sensation in her face. She found a dead spider clutched in her hand, presumably because she had killed it in her sleep. She put the spider in a bag and went to urgent care, where it was eventually confirmed that she had been bitten by a brown recluse spider. The bite left a hole in her face and caused excruciatingly painful symptoms.

If you’re officially freaked out, know this: Entomologists at the University of Kentucky say brown recluse spider bites are rare, and the spiders typically aren’t aggressive. The researchers say bites are usually in response to body pressure (i.e. when a spider is inadvertently trapped against bare skin or you roll over on one in bed). The venemous spider is dark brown, with a violin-shaped mark on its upper body, and light brown legs. They’re most common in the south central and midwestern regions of the United States.

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Entomologists say there are a few ways to prevent bites: Move your bed away from walls, drapes or other furnishings. Keep your bedspreads and bed skirts high enough to avoid contact with the floor. Also, keep your shoes and clothes off the floor and, if they do end up there, shake them well before wearing. It’s also a good idea to remove excessive clutter.

If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse spider, you should seek emergency medical treatment right away by calling 911, the local emergency number or poison control, advises MedlinePlus. If you need to treat the bite, you should start by washing the bite area with soap and water. Wrap ice in a clean cloth and place it on the bite area. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then off for 10 minutes. Repeat this process. If you have blood flow problems, decrease the time that the ice is on the area to prevent possible skin damage.

Linsey contained the spider and took it to urgent care, which was a good move. Medline Plus advises making sure the spider is in a secure container and bringing to the hospital with you if possible.

The singer-songwriter says the scenario was on the top of her “nightmare list.” Her bite, which happened in February, came with a slew of horrible symptoms that have included nerve pain in her face, muscle spasms, a full body rash and swelling. Through it all, though, she posted on Instagram that she was grateful for her health and will never take it for granted again.

“These pics are hard to share, but I think it’s important for me to be open with you guys,” Linsey wrote in an Instagram post. “Everything isn’t perfect all of the time. We all go through hard stuff.”

In a follow-up post, she told her followers that hyperbaric chamber treatments sped up the healing process and she was waiting for dead tissue to slough off so new skin could grow and her wound could heal.

Linsey told People she’s just happy to be alive, and is unsure whether she’ll be stuck with a scar forever. For the time being, she’s been relying on an intense makeup routine as she begins touring again.

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Good luck with your recovery, Meghan!