Brown Recluse Spider Bites

by Sam Samalin, PA-C

We have had a few patients come in that had been bitten by the brown recluse spiders. The spiders are between one and one and one-half inches long and are poisonous. They have a dark brown, violin-shaped mark on their upper body and light brown legs and are poisonous. Their lower body may be dark brown, tan, yellow, or greenish. They also have 3 pairs of eyes, instead of the usual 4 pairs other spiders have.

If you or someone you are with is bitten, call 911. Or, go straight to the nearest hospital emergency room. When the spider bites you, you may feel a sharp sting or nothing at all. Pain usually develops within the first several hours after being bitten, and may become severe. Children may have more serious reactions.

Symptoms may include chills, itching, fever, nausea, sweating and a reddish or purplish color sore in the area of the bite.

If bitten, wash the area with soap and water. Wrap ice in a clean cloth and place it on the bite area. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then off for 10 minutes. Repeat this process and call 911

Before calling emergency services, have this information ready: person’s age, weight, condition, body part affected and the time the bite occurred.

Take the person to the emergency room for treatment. The bite may not look serious, but it can take some time to become severe. Treatment is important to reduce complications. If possible, place the spider in a secure container and bring it to the emergency room for identification.

The brown recluse spider bite can leave a large sore in the skin and ugly scarring. The person may need surgery weeks later to improve the appearance of the scar.

Our clinic cannot take care of this type of injury and if bitten you should call 911 or go immediately to a hospital emergency room for treatment.

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