A man from Middle Cornwall, N.S., is recovering after being bitten by a spider that left an angry and painful skin reaction.

Stephen McKellar says he noticed the bite on Aug. 2 before leaving on a family vacation.

“Felt a little tenderness on my leg,” he says. “Just sort of brushed that off and noticed it was tender there, and it just looked like an oversized mosquito bite."

But it started to grow, causing his wife to become concerned.

“I could tell that it was really bothering him, so that's when I thought, this is probably something that's not a horsefly, or something that we should be concerned about," says Megan McKellar, Stephen’s wife.

They were later told by a doctor that it was likely a brown recluse spider. Megan tried to get him to see a doctor on Thursday because it was getting much worse, but he thought it could wait.

"On Friday it was to the point where, obviously, the Benadryl wasn't working and I got a little concerned about infection," says Stephen.

By Friday, Stephen started getting massive doses of antibiotics and other drugs in the hospital in Tatamagouche. A circle was drawn around the bite to see how fast the venom was spreading.

"Now it's just starting to eat away at the tissue because the venom is necrotic, so it'll eat away at the skin," he says.

Stephen is still on antibiotics, taking about 10 pills a day. It upsets his stomach but he feels lucky, saying some people who've had brown recluse spider bites have lost limbs.

The spider can remain dormant for months in hiding, hitching a ride to Canada on fruit from southern United States.

“I think it was in a pair of my shorts. There was an older pair of lined shorts I had bundled up on the floor in my closet,” Stephen says. 

After going through the experience and doing dome research, the McKellar’s found out things could have been much worse. They now have a strong message for anyone that brings fruit into their home.

“Check your produce. Grapes and bananas are what I was told that these things can come in on,” says Stephen.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw.