Brown recluse spider bites may be dangerously poisonous. Although the venom of the spider may be tolerated by adults, children will almost definitely require immediate medical attention. This page presents, facts, including pictures, signs and symptoms, and stages of a brown recluse spider bite. In addition, it outlines the immediate measures to take after being bitten. Furthermore, it highlights the diagnosis, medical treatments and home remedies for this spider bite.
What Do Brown Recluse Spiders Look Like?
In spite of the name, brown recluse spiders are not brown as such. Rather, they are actually tan in color. They have a dark, violin-shaped mark on their dorsal part that points towards the abdomen. Also, they have a light brown or yellowish-brown fused head and thorax.
Generally, they are bigger than other spiders that you may have seen. They have a body ranging from a quarter to three-quarter of an inch. Besides, they have relatively longer legs, which make them look even bigger than other spiders.
Notably, a brown recluse spider has only six eyes, unlike most spiders which a have eight. Two of the eyes are on the front part of the head. On either side of the head, there are two more eyes, making the total number six.
Where Do Brown Recluse Spiders Inhabit
Geographically, brown recluse mostly live in the United States. The specific regions where they especially inhabit include Nebraska to Ohio as well as across the South from Texas to Florida.
Typically, their natural habitat is defined by seclusion and darkness. In fact, it is very rare to come across a brown recluse spider because they prefer being in secluded places. They are found both indoors and outdoors where there are usually no people or other animals.
Indoors, you will find them in isolated spaces such as in corners of garages or inside rarely used closets. They can also live in boxes, clothing, shoes, furniture, bedding or other dry dark places.
Outdoors, they tend to stay in isolated gaps, corners, and spaces. Typical areas include under logs, under the roof of verandas, and in piled items such as stones or rocks.
When Do Brown Recluse Spider Bites
Brown Recluse Spider do not attack to bite without being startled. Therefore, when they come across a person, they will want to go away and hide.
However, when they feel confined by the person, they might bite the person. Usually, you might trap the spider unknowingly and it bites you as a result.
Signs and Symptoms of Brown Recluse Spider Bites
Bodies of different individuals will react differently to a brown recluse spider Bite. However, the general common symptoms of the bite may include the following:
Signs and Symptoms of the Bite Site
- Mild stinging: Immediately after being stung, you might experience mild stinging on and around the bite spot.
- Severe pain: Afterwards, within 8 hours, you might experience severe pain in the bite spot. This might occur a bit later.
- Color change: There are various color changes in the bite spot. You may notice blue or purple region on the bite. This is encircled by a whitish ring and a large red outer ring around the whitish ring.
- Fluid-filled blister: Later, usually after a day or so, a fluid-filled blister may form at the bite spot. The blister then comes off and reveals a deep ulcer, which might turn black afterward.
Signs and Symptoms of Various Parts or General Body
Later, you might experience a number of symptoms in specific body parts or general body. Usually, they show up after about 8 hours or much later after the bite:
- Abdominal pain
- Pain in Joints
- Joint muscle stiffness
- General body malaise
- Rash on various parts of the skin
- Muscle tension or cramping
- Very rarely, seizures or coma
Stages of a Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Generally, the brown recluse spider bites effects on the victim can be divided into three main stages. The stages are based on the signs and symptoms that are experienced.
In stage 1, you experience the initial symptoms of the bite such as stinging in the bite site. This happens from the time of the bite up to approximately 8 hours later.
The action of the venom activates the immune system to try to neutralize the venom. Consequently, you experience itching and stinging, and later fierce pains. Furthermore, the bite site becomes inflamed and blisters start forming.
In stage 2, the venom starts to destroy red blood cells around the bite site after about 8 hours or more. This restricts the oxygen supply to the bite area.
As a result, the skin at the bite site becomes whitish or grayish with a mall blue or purple spot. This is surrounded by a light red ring on the outer part.
In stage 3, the venom has spread to the general blood circulation system after about 2 days. This causes the whole body to respond, producing with various symptoms. It is the time when you experience, fever, chills, and nausea, dizziness
You might also see develop a rash that consists of small red dots, on some parts of your skin. In this stage, you will need immediate medical attention. Otherwise, you may develop severe symptoms such as seizures, coma or even a kidney failure.
Pictures of Recluse Spider Bites
We have inserted pictures of recluse spider bites and the spider itself. You may use the images to get a hint of what the spider looks likes. Similarly, you may want to relate a bite to the pictures for clues.
However, you should not use the images for self-diagnosis because they might resemble other conditions. Instead, visit your doctor for definitive diagnosis and proper treatment.
Is a Brown Recluse Spider Bite Dangerous
A majority of spiders the U.S. are basically harmless apart from the mild reactions as a result of their bites. However, a brown recluse spider is one of the two exceptions whose bites may be dangerous. The other spider is the black widow spider.
A brown recluse spider bite can cause much trouble if it happens to bite you. Like the black widow spider, it has harmful venom that can cause extreme pain or painful blisters and later ulcers.
Occasionally, it can cause more severe effects, especially in children. Rarely, fatal bites from brown recluse spider bites have been reported, mostly of children than adults. Therefore, you should not overlook a bite from this spider should. Instead, seek proper medical care timely.
What to Do Immediately After Being Bitten
In case a brown recluse spider bites you, you may want to take action in order to alleviate its effects or facilitate its treatment. Some of the typical measures you need to take include the following.
1. Wash the Bite Site
Wash the bite site and the surrounding area with soap and clean water. This might help wash away some of the venom and somehow reduce its effects on your body.
2. Elevate the Affected Area
If possible, raise and keep the affected part of your body in a higher a position. This will help prevent the spread of the venom to the other parts of your body.
3. Tie a Snug Bandage above the Bite
In case an arm or leg is the one affected, tie a snug bandage above the area. This will further prevent the spread of the venom to the other parts of your body. Be sure not to make it too tight such as to impair circulation of blood.
4. Catch or Take a Photo of the Spider
If possible, catch the spider and bring it with you to the health to your doctor. With the spider, the doctor will be able to definitively identify it and administer appropriate medication faster.
However, be sure to do this only safely lest you expose yourself to further danger. Preferably, you can take a photo of the spider in case this is possible. If not, at least have a good look at its appearance so that you can describe it to your doctor.
5. Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Seek immediate emergency medical care, especially if the victim of the bite is a child. This is because bodies of children may not ward off the dangerous effects of the venom from the spider.
For U.S. residents, you can contact the Poison Control Center on 1-800-222-1222. This is a 24-hour hotline at allows you to reach toxicology experts who will professionally attend to your spider bite.
Diagnosis of Brown Recluse Spider Bites
Unless is seen inflicting the bite or, you might not be able to tell the cause of your skin condition. You can make a good gaze if at least you see the spider around after the bite.
Apparently, other bug bites or skin conditions may produce the same symptoms as a brown recluse spider bite. Such cases include the following:
- Bites from other types of spiders
- Stings or bites from other insects such as fleas, bedbugs, mosquitos, ants, and ticks
- Injuries such as thorn injury, and burns
- Infections such as Strep and Staph infections, and early herpes simplex or herpes zoster (shingles),
- Early Lyme disease
Therefore, it is apparent that there are a few ways to reach a definitive diagnosis of a brown recluse spider bite. One is to at least see it inflicting the bite and describe it to the healthcare provider. Better still, you can take a photo of the spider or retrieve it and take it to the doctor.
Medical Treatments for Brown Recluse Spider Bites
Medical treatment is necessary if a child is bitten by a brown recluse spider. Children are not likely to ward off the venom from the spider. See your doctor immediately the spider bites your child or you just suspect this.
Adults can try treating the bite at home with the remedies outlined in the next section of this post. However, medical treatment might also be necessary in adults in case of severe symptoms.
In the treatment, steroids, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamines medications are used to reduce the effect of brown recluse venom.
Your doctor may administer steroid cream or injections to the bite to reduce pain and swelling. On the other hand, the doctor may administer antihistamines to help reverse allergic response of the body to the venom.
In addition, the doctor may administer antibiotics to prevent infections in the spider bite. In addition, antibiotics help stimulate the healing of any damaged skin tissue.
Home Remedies for Brown Recluse Spider Bites
For adult patients, a brown recluse spider bite can be effectively treated using home remedies. However, in few cases (about 10%) it might still produce severe blisters and ulcers. You need to see your doctor in case this happens to you.
For mild symptoms, use the following home remedies to relieve pain and cure the bite faster.
- Wash the bite site well with soap and clean water.
- Apply a cold compress to the spider bite site to relieve
- Apply an antibiotic cream on the bite site to prevent infections
- Take over-the-counter painkillers. Note: you should not give aspirin to children; instead, use alternatives such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- In case of an infection, you may need to take appropriate antibiotics
- You may need a tetanus shot, depending on your last date of immunization.
Still, watch for any severe signs and symptoms and visit your healthcare provider in case of any
When Should You See a Doctor?
Generally, you need to see a doctor immediately in case you notice any of the following signs and symptoms:
- You experience trouble breathing
- You experience extreme pain or aches
- You suspect an infection at the bite area probably because it does not get better.
- An ulcer or blister with a dark center develops on the bite site. It might also look blue, purple or black or some other color
- You experience any other severe condition that you associate with the spider bite.
How to Prevent Brown Recluse Spider Bites
You can minimize the chances of brown recluse spider bites by taking various measures. This is especially necessary for places that these spiders inhabit. The measure either help protect you or discourage the spiders’ infestation. Typical include.
- In anyone has to work near or around suspicious places like piles of logs, they should wear protective gear such as gloves.
- Check and shake items of clothing and beddings before using them, especially if they have been kept for long without use.
- Keep suspicious places clean to prevent infestation of brown recluse spider bites. Clean closets attics, sheds, and basements and such places regularly.
Sources and References
- Where Do Brown Recluse Spiders Live? https://www.orkin.com/other/spiders/brown-recluse-spiders/where-do-they-live/
- Brown Recluse Spiders: What to Know: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/spider-bite-brown-recluse-spider-bite-treatment
- Spider Bites: Pictures, Brown Recluse Spider Bite & Black Widow: https://www.medicinenet.com/spider_bites_black_widow_and_brown_recluse/article.htm
- Brown Recluse Bite Stages: http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/Brown-Recluse-Bite-Stages.html
- Brown Recluse Spider Bite Signs, Stages, Symptoms and Treatment: https://www.livestrong.com/article/86908-effects-recluse-bites/
- Brown Recluse Spider Bite: Symptoms and Treatment: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313661.php