Brown recluse spider bite almost costs Georgia artist his leg

An Atlanta-area singer and songwriter is recovering after an infectious disease doctor diagnosed him with a poisonous spider bite.

Gabe Lustman said he noticed swelling in his leg after seeing what looked like a bug bite and bruising. 

"I thought it was fluid retention or something," said Lustman. "It got to the point where I couldn't walk, I couldn't eat, [and] I was nauseous."

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Lustman says the bite got so bad that he couldn't eat or walk.

Just two days later, he was admitted to Wellstar North Fulton in Roswell for five days.

After running a series of tests, he was diagnosed with a brown recluse spider bite. 

"I was like, that's gross! I mean it was nasty, it didn't look good," Lustman told FOX 5 Wednesday. 

Lustman says the bite got so bad that he couldn't eat or walk.

He was given pain medications and antibiotics, but worried he would lose his leg.

"I'm like 'I'm not cutting my leg off,'" he told doctors. "'You're not going to get this leg!'"

Gaylord Lopez, managing director of the Georgia Poison Center, said the facility receives 40 to 50 suspected reports of brown recluse bites every year. The bites may have a bullseye appearance, and may come with redness, swelling, tissue damage, fever and vomiting.

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Brown recluse spider

Nancy Hinkle, a professor of entomology at the University of Georgia, said these spiders are extremely rare in Georgia.

"We are outside the native range of the brown recluse spider, so you're highly unlikely to ever encounter a brown recluse spider," she said.

If you suspect you have been bitten by one of these spiders, doctors recommend you keep the area clean and seek medical attention.

Lustman said these days he is feeling much better, but still not entirely back to normal.