An Atlanta musician was days away from losing his leg, and even possibly his life after he suffered a brown recluse spider bite last month.
Singer-songwriter Gabe Lustman told The Post Thursday he doesn’t know where or exactly when he got bit by the poisonous spider, which he initially thought was a “mosquito bite or something.”
“I start scratching it and scratching it and then it starts turning colors,” the 30-year-old recalled in a phone interview. “I thought I bumped my leg because it kind of looked like a bulls-eye, it looked like a bruise.”
The pop R&B artist first noticed the bite around Aug. 18 and from there felt progressively worse. He performed at a gala the next day, but felt so sick he went straight from the gig to the hospital.
Medical staff quickly determined his leg was infected, but a clear diagnosis came the following day when an infectious disease specialist checked him out, he said.
Lustman was in the hospital for five days where he had multiple blood tests and was given heavy doses of antibiotics and other medications.
Before he was released, medical staff told him if he sought help later, his leg could have been amputated or he could have died.
“They said if I came in a couple days later it would have spread even more,” he said. “I mean, I waited until I could not walk anymore, I was hobbling. I couldn’t put any pressure on my leg.”
“I was really scared, man,” Lustman added. “I’m very blessed and grateful I made it out with my leg.”
The brown recluse spider is most commonly found in the Midwest and down South, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The venom of a brown recluse can cause a severe lesion by destroying skin tissue (skin necrosis),” the CDC says. “This skin lesion will require professional medical attention.”
Lustman said he’s still not completely back to normal and has yet to perform since his hospital stay. He still has dry, dead skin around his leg and a scar from the bite mark.
Gaylord Lopez, the managing director of Georgia Poison Center, told WSB-TV his facility sees about 3 to 5 suspected cases of brown recluse bites each month.
“When these little creatures get you, they can pack a punch when they bite,” he said, adding. “You don’t even realize for up to a handful of hours that you’ve even been bitten.”
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