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.
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.
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.
Good luck with your recovery, Meghan!