‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Hospitalized Due to Bug Bite

Clare Fitzgerald
Photo Credit: John Lamparski / Getty Images
Photo Credit: John Lamparski / Getty Images

Former Little House on the Prairie (1974-83) child star Melissa Gilbert was hospitalized after suffering a bug bite to her arm. She shared the news on Instagram, and used the opportunity to warn her followers about taking interactions with insects seriously.

Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder in 'Little House on the Prairie'
Little House on the Prairie, 1974-83. (Photo Credit: AlexandraH / NBC / MovieStillsDB)

The 59-year-old Gilbert shared the news of her recent hospitalization on Instagram, writing, “Well that was a fun night in the ER (she said with dripping sarcasm). Two days ago a flying insect (not bee or wasp) bit my arm. By last night my arm was incredibly swollen, red and hot. Called my dr @skincarelab he suggested we hightail it to the ER.”

According to Gilbert, she was going to wait, but her husband, former The West Wing (1999-2006) actor Timothy Busfield, refused to let more time pass without his wife getting looked at by a medical professional.

The text was accompanied by two photos – one of an IV in Gilbert’s hand and another of a swollen area on her upper arm. “After many tests I was diagnosed with an abscess and cellulitis. Got an IV of clindamycin, Benadryl and acetaminophen,” she continued. “It immediately started to get better. Still kept me up all night. Starting antibiotics, Benadryl and ibuprofen orally today.”

Man itching a bug bite on his arm
Photo Credit: Canva

According to the NHS, an abscess is a “painful collection of pus, usually caused by a bacterial infection,” adding that one can occur anywhere on the body. Cellulitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a “common bacterial infection that causes redness, swelling, and pain in the infected area of the skin.” If not treated, it can prove fatal.

“The lesson – take bug bites seriously! If it swells up like crazy (my whole upper arm was swollen!) don’t wait to get treated thinking ‘It’s just a little bite. How bad can it get?’ Go to your dr or urgent care or the ER. I’m serious,” she urged her followers.

Several fans shared their concern and support for Gilbert, with one writing, “Sending healing vibes your way,” and another saying, “So glad you have a husband that loves you and insists you went in right away!”

Others shared similar experiences, including Canadian singer Jann Arden, who wrote, “Went through this 15 years ago. Same thing – IV. Antibiotics and some rest. Very weird and scary. It was immediate after bite! Heated up and started ballooning!”

Another fan wrote, “That happened to me once when I was teen. I was afraid to show my parents. I don’t know why. But then my arm is on fire and hard as a rock and they rushed me right to the doctor. The doctor assumed it was a spider bite. I had no idea how dangerous it was.”

Portrait of Melissa Gilbert
Melissa Gilbert, 2019. (Photo Credit: Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images)

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Melissa Gilbert portrayed Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie. She ended her post by referencing the character, writing, “Back in the days of #lauraingallswilder, this would’ve meant death or amputation.”


Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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