Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Spider bites can evoke different reactions depending on the species. In many instances, these bites are simply treated by wiping the wounded area with soap and water. Symptoms generally include mild swelling and reddening of the skin. The black widow and bown recluse are the 2 most venemous spiders in the United States. Where the bite of a black widow has zero visible symptoms, the bite of a brown recluse is much different, causing painful open lesions around the afflicted area and requiring immediate medical attention and care.

If you are experiencing an emergency, contact the American Association of Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for free professional advice.

Bite Identification

The brown recluse bite is so powerful, that if left unattended, the victim risks amputation of the afflicted limb. Unlike the black widow’s bite, the venom of a brown recluse is known as having cytotoxic properties, which means it is toxic to cells. Essentially, the venom destroys tissue.

  • The onset of necrosis (rot and ulcerations) will occur rapidly. The stages of the bite will eventually transition from mild burning to unbearable pain. This is known as necrotic arachnidism.
  • Get professional medical attention immediately. The biggest mistake people make when it comes to the brown recluse is waiting too long to seek professional care.
  • Identification is very important. Steps should be taken to catch and identify the spider, as bites are often misdiagnosed.

Identification of the brown recluse is made based on a distinct violin shaped pattern located around the dorsal carapace, or the top area around the head region. This is different from the black widow, whose markings are located directly on the abdomen. In contrast, the brown recluse has no markings on its abdomen and is usually a solid brown or yellow color.

Bite Symptoms, Stages, & Treatment

The brown recluse spider bite causes dangerous symptoms and the bite itself is mildly painful. Symptoms and stages originate centrically from the wound site. The localized symptoms surrounding the bite take on the form of an expansive puss filled lesion.

  • It takes about 8 to 24 hours for the symptoms to peak.This can vary depending on the individual’s size or immune response. Avoid pain relievers like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and narcotics, as they can thin out the blood.
  • The bite will only get worse. As the venom destroys skin cells in one area, it moves onto surrounding areas. If it gets out of control, amputation may become necessary. Hydrogen peroxide should be used to prevent bacterial infection.
  • Do not to freak out or get too excited. A surge of adrenaline will only make things worse, causing the venom to spread at a faster rate. Mild pain relievers with caffeine can increase blood flow and heart rate, also encouraging the spread of toxins.

Wounds appear as puss filled lesions that expand setting the stage for bacterial infection. The open sore will house an accumulation of white puss. This whiteness is caused by the antibodies in your immune system attempting to fight off the venom. There is no home remedy for the brown recluse bite - get medical attention immediately!

Brown Recluse Bite Prevention

Male recluse spiders are usually responsible for biting victims. This is because they are willing to venture farther out from the nesting site than females in search of food. Most spider bites occur when shoes or other items are left outside and worn or picked up. They are particularly active at sunrise and have been rising in population. Scientists attribute climate patterns and global warming as a cause for the mysterious increase of brown recluse activity in the Northern US.

Small pets, babies, and children will often show strong physical symptoms and are at higher risk of fatality when bit by a spider - this is due in part to weaker immune systems and size.

If you are the mother of a newborn baby and suspect brown recluse activity around your home, it's not a bad idea to place the feet of the baby's crib inside of glass jars. Any spiders or insects won't be able to climb the glass to get into the crib.

When gardening, avoid rummaging through any kind of debris without the use of gloves (bricks, wood piles, leaves, etc.). Sprays and chemical applications are applied best in the early evening on queue with their hunting schedules. To learn more about brown recluse control, visit our step-by-step guide on getting rid of brown recluse spiders.