Despite its being recluse in nature, a brown recluse spider bite can happen to anyone at any time. If you find yourself in such a situation, do not panic. By knowing what to do, you can prevent the situation from getting any worse. Read on for more information about brown recluses and what you can do just in case you or a loved one will be a victim of their venomous bite.
What Brown Recluse Spiders Are
Brown recluse spiders are mostly found in the United States (usually in the Midwest or the South). As their name suggests, these are known for their recluse nature that is why brown recluse spider bites are not too common. However, such bites can still happen and can cause a lot of pain. Some people might even have serious adverse reactions so knowing what to do in case it happens is imperative.
There is wisdom in the adage, “Prevention is better than cure.” It applies to this situation. You can significantly lower the risk of a brown recluse spider bite if you do not come in contact with it. Here are some telltale signs that you are dealing with this kind of a spider:
- Tan-colored body
- Violin-shaped mark on its body
- Violin’s neck is facing the direction of the spider’s abdomen
- Bigger than the usual spider (can grow to as much as an inch)
- Long legs
- Six eyes (two in front and two on each side of its head)
Brown recluse spiders like to stay in dark spaces that do not have frequent activity. You can typically find them underneath stairs, attics, closets, and garages. They can be found both indoors and outdoors. Take extra care when you reach out under logs, piles of rocks, or go through dusty boxes in the attic. Wearing gloves would be a good idea if you plan to do such type of tasks.
Here are some ways to prevent brown recluse spiders from invading your home:
- Keep your home clean.
- Avoid hoarding things. A pile of stuff will attract insects and spiders, the brown recluse included.
- Schedule periodic pest control for your home.
- You can even make your pest control brew which you can spray in targeted areas in your home while cleaning. Usual natural oils that repel spiders include cinnamon, citrus, cedar, citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and tea tree. Mix it in water, place the mixture in a spray bottle, and spray away.
Brown Recluse Spider Bite
The tricky thing is to distinguish a brown recluse spider bite from that of a regular insect bite. Here are some things to look out for:
- Stinging pain around the bite area
- Pain and redness where you were bitten
- Deep sore forms with the middle part turning purple
These three are the most observable since they manifest almost immediately after the bite. Once they do, administer proper first aid (which will be discussed earlier) or better yet, seek medical assistance before symptoms get any worse.
The worst part of a brown recluse spider bite is that it can potentially cause serious adverse reactions among certain people. Mostly, the bites just cause a painful skin ulcer but some people exhibit far worse. When any of these happen after the bite, make sure you seek medical assistance right away:
- Trouble breathing
- Pain in the joints
To help reach a proper diagnosis, if you can, take a photo of the insect that bit you. No need to catch it. Remember, brown recluse spiders bite when they feel threatened. Protect yourself by documenting the situation from a safe distance.
First Aid Treatment
For most adults, their bodies can counter the brown recluse spider’s harmful venom. If symptoms are mild (a little stinging pain and just redness around the affected area), these are steps that you can take to properly respond to the situation:
- Wash affected area with warm water and soap.
- Put ice on it to relieve the pain and reduce swelling.
- Apply antibiotic cream on the area that you were bitten.
- Take pain relievers if necessary.
- Be on the lookout for serious negative reactions that might manifest later on.
These steps do not apply to children and those who show severe symptoms. They both would require immediate medical assistance. A brown recluse spider bite can be potentially deadly if the victim is a small child. Once this happens, see your doctor without any delay.
When To See A Doctor
For many, home remedies are already sufficient. Once treatment is given, symptoms gradually improve until all that is left is a slightly reddish appearance localized around the affected area. However, certain conditions necessitate medical attention. Here are those conditions:
- Symptoms take a turn for the worse
- When a person experiences extreme pain
- Presence of a blister with a dark purplish-blue center
- When the victim of the brown recluse spider bite is a child
What To Expect
Once the doctor ascertains that it is a case of a brown recluse spider bite, these are some of the most probable steps to be taken:
- Put a patient under fluids with anti-venom or anti-inflammatory medication in the drip. This will have two effects.
- First, it flushes the toxin away. Second, it counters the harmful venom introduced to the body at the onset of the bite.
- Doctors might also prescribe a tetanus shot since spider bites are known to have tetanus spores.
- Oral antibiotics might also be prescribed especially if there is an infection.
A brown recluse spider bite, while uncommon, can be a threat for small children and those with severe reactions to spider bites. Once home remedies do not work, it is important to seek medical assistance right away. This could spell the difference between relief and developing even more serious complications.