Spider Bites


As the weather begins to warm and we begin more activities outside, the potential of getting bitten by a spider increases.  Not all spiders are dangerous, in fact only two that are dangerous to humans are present in the contiguous United States, the black widow and brown recluse.

Both of these spiders prefer warm and dark places and often live in woodpiles, closets, under sinks and in undisturbed areas.  Most bites occur when moving rocks or pieces of wood that haven’t been moved in a long period of time.  Grasping the underside of these objects, where a spider might be living can increase the opportunity for a potential spider bite.

Black Widow

Though rarely lethal a black widow bite can be serious.  You can identify the black widow spider by the red hourglass marking on its belly.  The black widow spider bite is not painful at
first.  In fact, you may not even feel the bite.  Soon you will notice a bit of swelling and red marks developing.  If not treated immediately, intense pain will develop stiffness, chills, fever,
severe abdominal pain and vomiting will occur.

Brown Recluse

The brown recluse is identifiable by the violin shaped marking on its back and it can produce a mild sting when it bites.  Within a few hours local redness will develop at the bite site along with intense pain.  A fluid filled blister will develop and pop leaving a gaping ulcer in the skin.

If Bitten:

  • Clean the wound site with plain soap and water.
  • Tie a snug bandage just above the bite site and towards the heart to slow the progression of the venom.  DO NOT tie the bandage so tight that it cuts off circulation.
  • Apply a cold cloth or a bag of water and ice combined to the injured site.
  • Seek immediate medical attention.

The venom can cause a severe allergic reaction in some people.  Also child and the elderly may also have severe reactions to these bites which could lead to death.  Many other insect bites may look like a spider bite, but will not have the same severe reactions.  Play it safe, treat all insect bites seriously especially in the elderly and the very young and if the victims condition worsen, call 911 immediately.

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