Brown Recluse Bite – All You Need to Know

Of the several species of the spiders, only four of them are considered to be harmful to human beings. They are namely the hobo, the black widow, the yellow sac spider and the brown recluse.  The latter is sometimes referred to as the violin or fiddle back spiders. They are named recluse because of their shy nature and the brown appearance in their abdomen.

The brown recluse spider can be found in warm and dark places such as beneath the leaves, under clothes that have been lying for long and in the pile of woods. They are poisonous spiders that can be found in the Central and Northern United States. They rarely bite people despite being poisonous and incase of suspicion of recluse bite, emergency treatment may be required.

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Macro shot of a brown recluse spider on white

Features of recluse spider

The recluse spiders have a violin shaped marks on their cephalothoraxes, which Is the combined thorax, and head. The violin marks greatly from one recluse spider to another due to age of the spider. The violin marks on the more mature spiders appears darker as compared to other younger spiders. It is much easier to confuse the brown recluse spider because of their violin marks so it is advisable to observe at the eyes to be able to identify a recluse spider. Their eyes are the most differentiating factor as they have six eyes as compared to other spiders, which have eight eyes.

Another unique characteristic of brown recluse spider is a brown uniformly colored abdomen. The brown shade of the abdomen may however vary from one recluse to another. The brown abdomen is then covered with velvet like hairs. More over they have long slanting legs while at rest that are covered with fine hairs as compared to others that may be having spines. The recluse can go through moths without eating and they mate just once in their entire life.


Brown Recluse Spider Bite – Stages and Progression

The first stage of the bite is usually stinging at the point of the bite. This is due to the injection of the venom into the blood stream. The stinging may begin immediately to a couple of hours but the stinging and pain is usually mild. The movement of the venom into the blood stream causes the redness and swelling. The area may later be hardened.

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The second stage is normally excessive pain. This is due to the absorption of the poison by the muscle tissues. The intense pain begins at about 8 hours after the bite but as the time passes by the pain also increases. Finally, a blister occurs at the point of the bite. This roughly happens after 24 hours of bite. The wound always appears as an open ulcer and increases in size. If it is left untreated, subsequent infections may follow. The common symptoms of the bite include nausea, vomiting, joint pain, itchiness, feeling of sickness and anemia.




The diagnosis of the bite is normally done by applying physical examination. Having clear description of the spider may assist in the proper diagnosis of the bite. Identifying the location where the bite took place, the time and the activity you are engaged in during that time may greatly assist apart from other general symptoms.

There is no specific ant venom for the bite but it is recommended that you should visit an emergency room as quickly as possible when you suspect the bite is from recluse. You can first aid yourself by washing the bitten area with water and soap. Then you should place an ice at that point and wrap it closely to 10 minutes. You should visit an emergency room and if possibly you can carry the spider for identification purposes.

Non-surgical treatment is achieved by applying cold compress, elevating the bitten point and avoiding any form of movement. If the bitten area has left an ulcer, the dead skin may be removed and be replaced by dead skin by a process known as grafting.

People react completely different to the recluse bite. The reaction depends on the amount of poison injected to ones system and the sensitivity of the body. It has been established that 90% of the recluse bites heal by their selves. Others experience faster reactions to the bites while other people may not react to it. The full recovery of the bite takes up to 8 weeks. Death cases have been reported to only those kids who are aged seven and below.

The Spiders have not been known to be at the other parts of States but doctors should take great care because the spiders could have been transported unknowingly in boxes or under the pile of woods. They have been spotted in California and Florida, which is not their native home.

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