The spider and its molted exoskeleton found inside the woman’s ear.
Here’s a terrifying medical tale, just in time for Halloween. In a new case report, doctors detail finding a spider inside a woman’s ear. The arachnid had likely made itself comfortable for at least four days, even managing to molt once. Thankfully, it was removed without any issues, though not before the doctors took a snapshot of the invading bug.
The case report was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“We haven’t seen a [spider] with its molted exoskeleton in the ear at the same time,” Wang told Gizmodo over email.
Horrifying as they are, ear bugs usually aren’t a serious medical concern, though they should be removed as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of damage to the ear or infection. In this case, the doctors used a suction cannula through an otoscope to remove the spider and its molt, and the woman “went home happily” with no problems, Wang said.
If you’re ever unlucky enough to deal with your own ear-crawler, the most important thing to keep in mind is to not panic—tough as it might be to do. Sticking anything else inside in an attempt to flush out the bug, such as a cotton swab, is absolutely not advised, since it might only push the creature deeper inside, where it could then puncture the eardrum. Oil is sometimes used to suffocate the bug if it’s still alive before trying to shake it out, but this isn’t recommended if you suspect eardrum damage. And in all honesty, you should probably just see a doctor as soon as you can, if only to ensure that your ear will be undamaged and free of any remaining debris.
“It is best if an otolaryngologist can be found to assist,” Wang said. “If not, please don’t pick the ear by yourself.”
More from Gizmodo