Doctors Keep Finding Spiders in People's Ears—These Are the Tell-Tale Symptoms
There have been multiple reports of live spiders removed from people's ears.
Most of us have an aversion to spiders, with a healthy fear reserved for venomous species like the black widow and the brown recluse. But there are others who have a legitimate phobic response to these arachnids, and for anyone in that category, it's hard not to imagine worst-case scenarios. People who tend to spiral about spiders would do wise to not read any further, as one particular nightmare situation keeps happening in real-life. There have been multiple cases of live spiders found in people's ears, with two especially horrifying recent examples. Read on if you dare to find out what symptoms these individuals reported before they learned the alarming cause.
A woman posted a TikTok about having a live spider in her ear.
A tearful Desirae Kelly took to TikTok to post her account of having something flushed out of her ear—and if you went through the same experience, you'd likely be crying, too.
In the video, Kelly says, "They confirmed that there is something in my ear." She shares that a nurse couldn't tell what it was, but that it wasn't a moth, and that it was "curled up back there." Not surprisingly, Kelly notes that "it's an uneasy feeling."
After nurses flushed out her ear, they found a spider—and it was still alive.
Kelly returns with that update. "We're all done," she says through tears. "It was a spider. It was alive. I threw up. I'm never sleeping again."
In a follow-up video, she shared the symptoms she experienced.
After receiving countless questions, Kelly posted a much longer follow-up video sharing her story, including the symptoms that led her to urgent care in the first place.
She reveals that she woke up around 5 a.m., and when she tried to go back to sleep, "I feel something in my ear." Shortly thereafter, she started to feel it moving. "The feeling can only be described as something fluttering in your ear," Kelly shares.
She went to urgent care as soon as it opened, and once in the waiting room, she felt movement again. "This time it was painful," Kelly recalls. "It felt like a big clump of wax moving at the base of my eardrum. It was so uncomfortable."
Once the nurses at urgent care confirmed there was something in Kelly's ear, they began the process of flushing it out. At first, nothing worked. Then, Kelly says, "I felt whatever that was crawl out of my ear … and land on my sweater." The live spider eventually fell on the floor and started crawling away before being captured by a nurse.
"I am traumatized," Kelly concludes. She reveals that she's only been able to sleep by taking extra precautions: "I don't think I could ever sleep without earplugs again."
A new report reveals the same thing happened to a woman in Taiwan.
While it would be comforting to believe that what happened to Kelly was an isolated incident, a case report just published in The New England Journal of Medicine tells a similar tale.
A 64-year-old woman in Taiwan saw an ear, nose, and throat specialist after four days of "incessant clicking and rustling sounds in her left ear." She also had difficulty sleeping. Doctors discovered a small, living spider—along with the exoskeleton it had discarded.
The sounds and sleep disturbances were the woman's only symptoms. "She didn't feel pain because the spider was very small. It's just about 2 to 3 millimeters," report co-author Tengchin Wang, MD, director of the otolaryngology department at Tainan Municipal Hospital, said (via NBC News).
These cases are rare, but know the symptoms.
How worried should you be about a live spider in your ear? Probably not very, doctors note.
Most ENTs see "tens, if not more, of bugs or some sort of arthropod" in ear canals over the course of their entire career, David Kasle, MD, a physician at ENT Sinus and Allergy of South Florida, told NBC News.
At the same time, it's important to be mindful of any unusual symptoms and to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Some food for thought: A 2019 study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found that 14 percent of foreign objects removed from people's ear canals are live insects. Sweet dreams!
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