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 Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Please don't send any more photos of supposed spider bites. I can't tell you what may have bitten you, and you should go to your doctor and get it properly diagnosed. Further more, this site is not here to promote the few bites that people get from spiders but to encourage people to understand spiders a bit better and how they are of benefit to us. This includes the fact that of the few people who suffer from spider bites, many of these aren't spider bites but from something else. Here's a photo of a bite that doctors diagnosed as a recluse bite which turned out to be something different altogether!! Read below the photo for what the bite was from!!

Supposed brown recluse bite was diagnosed by a hospital in southwest Virginia. After many tests, the bite turned out to probably be from a Lone Star Tick which is the most common tick species in VA. Estimated date of tick bite was early May 2013. Note they had an extremely wet spring [record-breaking], which caused unusual amounts of vegetation growth. The Virginia Dept. of Health can provide lots more interesting details about the many new tick-borne pathogens which seem to be invading the region. Photo supplied with permission of the bearer of the bite who does not wish to be identified but agreed  to have it published in the public interest, to show how bites from other creatures are often misidentified as being from a recluse or hobo simply because they look similar!! However treatment is often vastly different depending on what has caused the wound and it is best to get a correct identification to hasten recovery!! glen

Click here for an article by George Fiedler on one of the most common infections that is often mistaken for a recluse bite.

Brown Recluse Spiders are also known as Fiddleback spiders or Violin Spiders and their bite has been believed to cause a very serious reaction.  However, recent theories tend to dispute the fact that most of these bites are from the brown recluse. According to Rick Vetter from the American Arachnological Society - "even if you have a recluse, bites from them are extremely rare, despite all the stories.  Many of the really graphic nasty wounds you see on the internet as recluse bites can also be other conditions like necrotizing bacteria and pyoderma gangrenosum.  Ninety percent of brown recluse bites are not medically significant, heal very nicely often without medical. intervention and treatment for most brown recluse bites is simple first aid (RICE therapy Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).  Many conditions are misdiagnosed as recluse bites when their cause is something else like infection, bad reaction to medication, diabetic ulcers, Lyme disease, or other underlying medical conditions." This is not to suggest that anyone should go around handling any spiders - brown recluse or otherwise - treat all spiders with caution and respect!!

Here's an interesting email with a different sort of treatment for a brown recluse bite:
Dear Glen, In April, I visited a friend in the mountains of Tennessee. While I was sleeping in the seldom used loft bedroom, I was bitten on the cheek by a brown recluse spider. This was on a Saturday night. By Monday morning my face was very swollen, right eye swollen shut, very red and painful. I was taken to an Instacare type facility and given antibiotics and an injection of cortisone in my hip. The next day, I flew home to Sedona, AZ. My face, the swelling, the pain were much worse. I started calling doctors. Several recommended me to a local Naturpath who specialized in venomous bites. When I called he said to come in asap. When I walked in, my bite area was turning a yucky brownish color, and he said, "Day 5". I said, "yep!". The treatment was painful - 2 injections of ozone into the bite area. He told me it would be painful, but not last for long. Then I was given an IV and went home an hour or so later. The bite area never got worse or went necrotic. It stayed red for some days and slowly, over weeks, faded in color and the ache also grew weaker. The venom had begun to move into my sinus and lymph areas, and this too began to retract. Now it is September and my cheek looks fine, maybe like a have a light blush. Occasionally, I feel a twinge in the area of the bite, and the eye muscles still twitch often, but I feel blessed. I have talked to many people, doctors and nurses who have seen much worse, and even the loss of flesh and feet from these bites. New nurses and nursing students need to take spider bites seriously and check for all signs of infection. While a doctor of nursing practice with years of experience knows what symptoms to look for, some signs of a serious spider bits could be missed by a new nurse.
Here's an email with a bit more info from Becky:
Dear Glen, I found your site today as part of my work as a teacher. You have some pics of this man's bite: are pics of necrosis from what the docs decided was definitely a brown recluse. See the emed article here. Pics of Dale's leg are near the bottom:
The thumb bite pics at your site ( looks very much like pics I saw when I was working at Torbitt & Castleman in Buckner KY. The pics were of a maintenance guy's thumb. He was working at the plant and reached up under a floor sweeper when he was bit. News of the bite went around the plant like wild fire. That guy was on sick leave for a couple of months...I left the factory before he came back. His friends told me of the extreme pain he endured. He wanted everyone at the plant to be more careful so he submitted his pics to the company intranet. Sincerely, Becky Rathbun

About the Brown Recluse: The body of the brown recluse is light tan to dark brown in colour. It is about 1/2" to 1/4 " in size. The males are usually smaller than the females. With leg span included the Brown Recluse is about the size of a half dollar. The legs are long, thins and delicate. They have only six eyes. The most distinguishing mark is the violin like dark patch on their head with the skinny part of violin pointing toward the abdomen. They can be found in the south central states of the United States including Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Alabama, and Oklahoma. In the home the Brown Recluse seeks secluded areas: around the hot water heater, in closets, under beds and furniture. Around the home they can be found under the porch, in a woodpile, and in the garage. Their lifespan ranges from 2 to 10 years. Females lay eggs from May to August. It takes a month for the eggs to hatch. The spider can tolerate temps from near freezing to over 100 degrees F. (Photo  - R. Vetter )
Symptoms can be:
* Rarely any pain when bitten.
* Bite site becomes reddened surrounding a raised bump similar to a fire ant bite with a dark centre similar to a bulls eye.
* Flu-like symptoms (fever, nausea, chills, aches) .
* Painful ulceration develops.
* Skin and muscle tissue dies, leaving a deep, infected wound that enlarges, fails to heal or heals slowly. The wound site can be affected for a long time, even years. This is called Necrosis.
If you have been bitten:
* Wash the area with soap and water.
* Apply ice to reduce swelling and redness.
* Do Not Use Heat.
* Search for spider- take it with you to the doctor for identification.
* Call your doctor .
To Avoid being bitten:
* Shake clothing that has been on the floor or not been worn in a while.
* Wear long sleeves and gloves when moving boxes or working in storage
* Wash or check bed linens in beds that have not been slept in for a while.

Click below for some pages of supposed spider bites. One sent in anonymously, of a bite to the thumb and another sent in by Dale Losher of Illinois of a bite to his leg and the most recent one from Tracey in Georgia. I have provided these images as a public service and do not claim that the stories are true or correct.

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Site A Cure??
Brown Recluse - Photos & Observations  










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