GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Phoenix mom hospitalized after encounter with blister beetle

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Dr. Joanna Woods thought she'd been bitten by a bed bug or mosquito. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dr. Joanna Woods thought she'd been bitten by a bed bug or mosquito. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Dr. Joanna Woods thought she'd been bitten by a bed bug or mosquito, but the Phoenix mom soon realized it was something much worse.

"It was just so much pain that I couldn't get through the cloud of pain," said Woods. "It was excruciating. I could liken it to childbirth. When they ask you if the pain was between one and 10, there were times it was 10."

[GRAPHIC PHOTO: Woods shows blisters from beetle bites]

Woods appears to have had an encounter with a blister beetle that has the ability to release a dangerous toxin when it comes in contact with human skin.

The poisonous chemical causes swelling and blistering of the skin and can be fatal if ingested by children.

[RELATED: Beware of these venomous creatures in Arizona]

"My first thought is - gross - they're really ugly and gross," said Woods. "The idea of the whole concept of a blister beetle is really disgusting."

Woods is convinced her uncomfortable encounter with the blister beetle took place at a Valley movie theater a few nights ago when her arm started to itch.

A few hours later, the arm was red and swollen and getting worse.

[GRAPHIC PHOTO: Extreme close up of blisters on Woods from beetle bites]

Emanuel Jara with Responsible Pest Control said blister beetles have been in Arizona for years and usually leave people alone.

"It is their season right now," said Jara. "You can find them in parks, in bushes and your very own backyard. A lot of times people, when they are doing gardening, they'll encounter them, so it's just about being very cautious."

[GRAPHIC PHOTO: Close up of blisters on Woods from beetle bites]

Fortunately for Woods, the medication she's taking has reduced the swelling and her arm is getting better.

She only wishes that bug could have bugged someone else.

"I know that bugs like me, and I know I have a reaction to bugs, but this is just weird," said Woods. "I don't wish this on anybody."

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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