What To Do If Brown Recluse Bites You – Red spiders are one of the few spider species that pose a potential threat to humans.
There are over 3,500 known species of spiders in the United States. Although spiders cause fear in many people, only five main groups worldwide can cause significant reactions in humans.
What To Do If Brown Recluse Bites You
Brown recluse spiders belong to the brown spider group. Another well-known poisonous spider is the black widow spider, which belongs to the widow group.
Tis The Season Of The Brown Recluse Spider: Staying Safe
The brown recluse spider is also known as the fiddle or fiddle back spider. It lives in the Central and South-Eastern parts of America. This spider is brown in color and has a dark, violin-shaped spot on its back.
Unlike other spiders, which usually have eight eyes, red-brown spiders have only six, arranged in three pairs of two eyes each. Reddish brown stems are long, thin and covered with short hairs. The scientific name of this spider is
These spiders are most active at night and rest during the day, hiding in dark places. If they come indoors, red-brown spiders prefer closets, attics, basements, and other dark areas of the home. They seem to prefer dry areas.
The venom of the brown recluse can be very toxic, but the spiders can only release a small amount during a bite. People are also more likely to come into contact with a male spider, which has only half the venom per bite, than a female spider.
Brown Recluse Spider
Brown spiders rarely bite humans and do so in self-defense. They are not aggressive towards people and prefer to run to bite.
Bites occur when the spider is stuck to the skin, such as in bedding or clothing and shoes.
In an area where these spiders are common, especially if they have not been used recently, it is important to check and wash linen and clothing before use.
A common myth is that their bites always result in severe wounds and destruction of skin tissue. In fact, only a few bites lead to this type of injury. Most bites cause no symptoms or only a mild reaction.
Serious Spider Bites Need Serious Wound Treatment
The onset of bites is usually painless, and sometimes the symptoms increase over time. Most bites occur on the thigh, upper arm and chest.
If a skin reaction occurs, in the first hour the person may experience the following symptoms around the bite area:
Over the next 2 to 6 hours, the bite site becomes larger, more painful, and a blister forms. If the area around the bite becomes more purple in color about 12 to 24 hours after the bite, it is likely that the skin has died. This is called necrosis. If necrosis occurs, it may take several weeks or even months for the wound to heal completely.
However, according to spider experts at the University of Florida, if there are no signs of skin change within 48 to 96 hours, the wound is not necrotic and should be healing properly.
What You Need To Know About Venomous Brown Recluse Spiders
Although these spiders do not bite people often, they pose a slightly higher risk to people who work indoors.
Engineers, janitors and housekeepers can be at even greater risk because they work in areas where they are likely to come into contact with spiders.
For occasional encounters with this type of spider, look to the Midwest or Southeastern United States. Living in is the main risk.
Despite their fearsome reputation, only 10 percent of brown recluse spider bites result in serious skin complications.
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Tick bites, viral, fungal and bacterial infections, drug reactions, and skin complications from diabetes are common causes of skin reactions that look similar.
People can usually treat true spider bites at home. If possible, get people together to identify the spider responsible.
Do this by holding the spider in the bottom of a clear cup or jar so that the spider can be easily seen, and slowly slide a piece of paper under the container. Invert the container and tie the top with paper or put the lid on it.
If the bite causes discomfort, elevate it if possible and apply a cold compress or covered ice pack to reduce swelling and pain.
Steps To Avoid Brown Recluse Spider Bites
Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be helpful in reducing discomfort. An antihistamine, such as Benadryl, can also help with any itching.
If the brown recluse spider is confirmed to be the cause, a doctor may recommend a tetanus booster shot if a person has not had one in the past 5 years. The doctor may also examine the wound 2 to 3 days after the bite, to ensure that the venom is not destroying tissue. If there is concern, treatment can start sooner. This reduces the risk of further complications.
There are many other conditions that can cause wounds as severe as a brown recluse spider bite. These conditions include tick bites, bacterial, viral and fungal infections, diabetes, and other skin conditions.
Unless a person lives in an area where red-brown spiders are known to live and has caught the spider to identify it properly, the cause of the wound should not be attributed to a red-brown spider bite.
The Brown Recluse Spider: Its Reputation Is Worse Than Its Bite
A person bitten by a brown recluse spider has an excellent chance of recovery, especially with proper care, as most bites do not require special treatment and heal on their own.
People with other medical conditions, such as diabetes or immune system problems, have a higher risk of complications. These individuals are also at increased risk of various types of skin infections and other skin problems. However, it is particularly important for them to contact their doctor in the event of an actual or suspected red-brown spider bite within 24 hours of a reaction occurring. Any wound that does not heal properly, regardless of the cause, should be evaluated.
Although brown recluse spider bites are rare, it is possible to reduce your risk of getting one. These steps are important for people who live in areas where recluse spiders live.
The best way to do this is to avoid areas where red spiders live, such as dry areas with exposed wood or rock piles. Anyone working near or in these areas should wear gloves.
What’s The Difference Between Black Widow And Brown Recluse Spiders?
When indoors, people should be sure to dust off clothes, shoes, or bedding that have not been used for a while, especially if they are stored in an attic, basement, or dark closet.
It may be helpful to take other measures to prevent brown recluse spiders from establishing a home. Cleaning out attics, sheds, closets and basements removes spiders’ favorite hiding places. However, it is important to remember that a brown recluse spider would rather run away from you than bite you.
Although these spiders have gotten a bad name, the actual risk of significant injury from the brown shade is quite small.
As most brown spider bites cause no symptoms or only a mild reaction, the first step is to wash the bite with warm soapy water and dry it with a clean cloth.
Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Any reaction within a week of the bite that includes fever, chills, rash, yellowing of the skin, pallor, fatigue, dizziness or vomiting requires immediate medical attention.
If a skin reaction occurs, changes should be visible within a few hours. This includes increased size, redness, pain, and usually blisters. Within a day the lesion may turn purple. This is often a sign of skin death, or necrosis.
It is important to see your doctor if these types of skin changes occur so that you can receive appropriate vaccinations, medications, or wound care. You will need close follow-up to make sure the wound has healed properly.
The answers represent the opinion of our medical experts. All content is informational only and should not be considered medical advice.
A Brown Recluse Spider Bit Me
Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and sources only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and societies. We avoid using tertiary references. We link to primary sources – including studies, scientific references and statistics – within each article and also list them in the Resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up to date by reading our Editorial Policy. Clinically Reviewed by Dominique Fontaine, BSN, RN, HNB-BC, HWNC-BC – By Jennifer Levitt, MS – Updated March 31, 2021
Spiders want to avoid people as much as we want to avoid them, but when they feel threatened, spiders will bite.
In many cases, spider bites can be treated at home. Although all spider species inject venom through their fangs to paralyze their prey, most spider venom is not strong enough to act as a venom in humans.
However, some spider venom is toxic to humans and can certainly be dangerous. In the United States, creek and widow spiders are the biggest threat.
Recluse Or Not? Citizen Science Project Looks To The Public For Help In Gathering Data On Much Maligned Spider
Emergency signs If you have been bitten by a poisonous spider and have gone into shock or are having trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency services immediately.
Home Remedies If You Have Been Bitten by a Less Venomous Spider Species
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