Brown Recluse Spiders:
Before you can treat a spider bite, it is important to know what kind of spider bit you. Brown recluse, also known as violin or fiddleback spiders are about 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) long with a dark violin-shaped mark for you to distinguish. They are mostly found in hot, dry, abandoned areas like wood or rock piles. They are found most often in the South.
Symptoms of Brown Recluse Bites:
Reddened skin/Blister: Immediately after the bite occurs, nothing may seem serious. You may notice a red mark which looks similar to a bee sting or a pin prick that may be followed by a blister that forms at the bite site. The bites that develop blisters and a blue tinge may take longer than usual to heal. The patient can experience a sharp pain at the site of the bite, which might also lead to itching. The infected spot typically remains firm as it heals, which takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Pain/Itching: Following the bite, you might experience mild to intense pain for 2 to 8 hours. Since most brown recluse spider bites go unnoticed at the beginning because of no or little pain, you might only begin to feel it several hours later. At this point, you will witness the actual beginning symptoms of a brown recluse bite.
Ulcer/Necrosis: After a week or more following a bite, you will notice an open sore (an ulcer) with a breakdown of tissue (necrosis) which may take months to heal. Brown recluse bites become necrotic where the tissue around the bite dies and sloughs off. This happens only when the spider injects large amounts of venom and the patient is sensitive. The wound is extremely painful and not very pleasant to look at because of the exposed ulcer.
To keep the ulcer from worsening, make sure to keep it clean and dry so that it heals within six to eight weeks. Skin grafting or medications might be used by your Dermatologist to treat severe ulceration and control infections. Necrosis, or tissue death, usually results due to a lack of medical care for the bite and is only seen in the worst case scenarios.
In some cases, people have a severe, whole-body reaction to brown recluse spider bites, including the rapid destruction of red blood cells and anemia.
Signs and symptoms of Brown Recluse Bites Include:
Fever and chills: If the bite is extremely severe, the patient may experience chills and even shock, but these cases are very rare.
Skin rash: Symptoms of a brown recluse bite include skin rash all over the body with many tiny, flat purple and red spots.
Nausea or vomiting: Besides affecting the rest of the body, some symptoms of a brown recluse spider include nausea. You may feel mildly ill with nausea and feverish until your body can process the spider venom. But this should eventually disappear as the wound heals. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms after a spider bite.
Joint pain: A brown recluse spider bite could also cause joint pain in some cases.
After a Brown Recluse Spider Bites:
Some people may experience a delayed reaction, others an immediate reaction, and others no reaction at all. If a brown recluse spider bites you, make sure you seek immediate medical help no matter what.
As per research, different people react differently to bites. 90 percent of bites heal without medical attention or scarring. Many brown recluse bites leave a small red mark that heals quickly, and the vast majority of bites do not leave scars.
If you think you have been bitten by a brown recluse spider:
Be calm: Don’t panic or make any sudden movement because this will increase the flow of venom into the blood. Calmly seek medical attention.
A cooling effect: Use a cloth dipped in cold water or an ice bag to cover the bite.
Identify the spider: Try to positively identify the spider or catch it to confirm its type.
A brown recluse bite can be serious and may require immediate medical care.
Call a doctor if you experience the following:
Positive Identification: You are certain it was a brown recluse bite.
Severe symptoms: You have severe symptoms throughout your body.
Necrosis: If you see an open sore and necrosis develops (black and dead tissue).
Diagnosis of a Brown Recluse Bite:
The brown recluse bite is diagnosed through a physical examination and questions about the bite. You should know the nature of the bite, where and when the bite took place, and your action at that point in time to describe to your dermatologist. Also, be ready to explain the precise symptoms to your doctor, the time it all started and how they developed, progressed, or changed since the bite. This information will help and make it easy for your Dermatologist to diagnose your case.
Brown Recluse Bite Treatment:
Medicine to counteract brown recluse spider venom is not available in the United States or Canada. Treatment depends on how severe the bite is. For bites that:
Do not develop open sores: Your doctor might suggest you apply a cold compress, elevating the bite area, and avoid moving the bite area.
Cause an open sore (ulcer) & (necrosis): Your doctor might need to remove the dead skin from the sore. This may involve follow-up and replacing the dead skin with new skin (skin grafts).
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may also be used for tissue damage from a spider bite. Be sure to stay on the lookout for spiders, especially during warmer months.
Associated Dermatologists | Trussville Alabama