Recluse Spider Bite
As the "recluse"
in Brown Recluse Spider may indicate,
this spider is not aggressive, and being bit by one
is very rare. They generally only bite when they feel
threatened, and this happens most often when they are
pressed up against your skin by putting on clothing,
shoes or using a towel that they are in or on.
Most people who have been bit say they did not feel
the initial bite at all. Slowly it becomes more painful,
and in extreme cases, the wounded area has grown as
large as 10 inches in diameter. The pain sets in anywhere
from 2 to 8 hours after the bite, the effects worsen
over the next 36 hours, and necrosis can develop within
the next few days.
Symptoms of Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Bites from the Brown Recluse Spider
can result in a wide range of symptoms. People may experience
nausea, fever, hemolysis, malaise, thrombocytopenia
and the gangrenous sloughing of the skin around the
bite area. These symptoms are collectively known as
loxoscelism, which is directly derived
from the Brown Recluse Spider's scientific name, Loxosceles
reclusa. Hemolysis is when the red-blood cells
burst open and subsequently release hemoglobin in the
surrounding fluid. Thrombocytopenia is when you have
a relatively low platelet count.
The first symptoms to look for would be the systemic
conditions. The venom races through the body very quickly,
and some of the first things to occur would be nausea,
fever, the formation of rashes, vomiting, and muscle
pain. The worse symptoms (hemolysis, thrombocytopenia,
and necrosis) are rare.
The majority of recorded Brown Recluse Spider
bites are minor, and do not show signs of necrosis.
There is however the possibility of severe dermonecrotic
lesions and severe systemic symptoms. The possible systemic
symptoms include damage to organs leading to organ failure
and even death. Most deaths occur in people with weaker
immune systems like the elderly and children under 7
years of age.
Some bites may also form a necrotizing ulcer. These
ulcers completely destroy soft tissue, and when healed
some months later, will leave deep, visible scars. The
damaged tissue will be gangrenous, and will slowly slough
Brown Recluse Spider Bite Treatment
Initial first aid for a Brown Recluse Spider
bite should be an ice pack on the wound to
control any inflammation, and the use of aloe vera to
help control the pain. After this, immediately take
the wounded individual to a hospital. Since the initial
bite itself is painless, it is rare to notice the bite
right away. If at all possible, capture the spider and
bring it to the hospital. Correctly identifying the
spider can be crucial to the medical care given to the
In the rare cases where the wound results in necrosis,
medical care is more difficult. Currently, there is
no known or practiced treatment for necrosis. The following
Brown Recluse Spider bite treatment
is the norm for necrosis, although individual doctors
may differ in their methods. The affected limb would
first be elevated and secured as to not move. A tetanus
shot would be given to the patient, and then the simple
application of ice and basic wound care.
Various different treatments have been attempted in
the past, but none have been clinically tested and shown
to be supremely beneficial to necrosis. Some of these
treatments include antihistamines, dapsone, nitroglycerin,
antivenom and electric shock.
As bad as the Brown Recluse Spider bite
can be, the vast majority of bites eventually heal without
serious medical care. That being said, if a bite from
this spider is suspected, immediately go to the hospital.
As mentioned, necrosis is rare, but is serious enough
to take no chances.