A DUBLIN dad has told how he almost died after being bitten by a false widow spider last weekend.
Civil engineer Eugene Murphy (28) was rushed to hospital and spent 24 hours in intensive care after being bitten three times by a false widow spider in Perrystown, near Greenhills.
The father-of-one said he was bitten twice during the day and thought nothing of it.
However, he was bitten a third time when he got home from work - to his parents' house - and it was at that point he noticed the spider.
"I actually had to tug it away from me to get it out. The fangs were embedded underneath the skin. A lump of skin came off with it when I took it out."
But if the fright and pain wasn't bad enough, things were about to get a whole lot worse for Eugene.
"It was proper fire on my shoulder. It was ten times worse than any bone break."
Luckily, Eugene's father was in the room at the time and he immediately called emergency services when his son collapsed.
"I remember my throat shutting and my eyes going. I banged my head on the ground and then I was out.
"I remember waking up with the fire brigade. They brought me out to the ambulance, but I don't remember that, and they gave me adrenaline."
The false widow spider was an inch in diameter, very small in size and was black with white spots.
The businessman, who is six-feet tall and well built, was told by medical staff in Tallaght Hospital that his level of fitness helped him to survive.
"I feel grand now," he said, and joked: "The doctors were calling me Spidey and Spiderman."
Eugene said awareness through word of mouth might save someone else's life.
Experts say bites from false widow spiders are not normally fatal, but they can cause allergic reactions. They are the most venomous spiders in Ireland and are widespread since being spotted here first in the 1990s.
Eugene now plans to make sure that epipens are available for the 30 workers at his company, Muscrai Engineering Ltd.