Brown Recluse Spider Bite
A Brown Recluse spider is a brown and sometimes an almost deep yellow colored
spider with markings that look a violin with the neck of the violin pointing
to the rear of the spider, that's why it's sometimes called the fiddleback spider.
The Brown Recluse spider is native to the United States from the southern Midwest
south to the Gulf of Mexico. With a body about 0.5 inches in length, they build
irregular webs in woodpiles and sheds, closets, garages, cellars and other places
that are dry and generally undisturbed.
In homes they tend to be found in cardboard boxes, shoes, inside dressers, in bed
sheets, in stacks of clothes, behind baseboards, behind pictures and near furnaces.
Unlike most web weavers, they leave these webs at night to hunt.
The initial bite frequently cannot be felt and there may be no pain, but over time
the wound may grow to as large as 10 inches in extreme cases. Bites usually become
painful and itchy within 2 to 8 hours. Pain and other local effects worsen 12 to
36 hours after the bite with the necrosis developing over the next few days.
The Brown Recluse venom is a vasoconstrictor, which causes the narrowing of blood
vessels. When blood vessels constrict, the flow of blood is restricted which causes
tissue to die resulting in a gangrenous slough at the site of bite. As the venom
spreads throughout the body it may produce systemic symptoms. Mild symptoms include
nausea, vomiting, fever, rashes, and muscle and joint pain. A small number of bites
may produce severe symptoms which can include organ damage, and occasionally even
result in death.
First aid involves the application of an ice pack to control inflammation, the
application of aloe vera to soothe and help control the pain. If the victim of a
Brown Recluse bite is a child or elderly person, an prompt medical care is recommended.
If it can be easily captured, the spider should be brought with the patient in a
clear, tightly closed container so it may be identified.