Bitten by a brown recluse spider

Skin | Emergency Medicine | Bitten by a brown recluse spider (Disease)


The brown recluse spider or violin spider, Loxosceles recluse is a spider with venomous bite. Brown recluse spiders are notable for their characteristic violin pattern on the back of the cephalothorax, the body part to which the legs attach. These spiders are not aggressive and bite only when threatened, usually when pressed up against the victims skin. They seek out dark, warm, dry environments such as attics, closets, porches, barns, basements, woodpiles, and old tires.

A small number of brown recluse bites do produce severe dermonecrotic lesions; an even smaller number produce severe cutaneous or systemic symptoms. Symptoms usually develop two to eight hours after a bite: severe pain at bite site after about four hours, severe itching, nausea, vomiting, fever, and muscle pain known as mylagias. These secondary effects of the venom, although extremely rare, can produce these more significant side effects of the spider bite: destruction of red blood cells; low platelet count; blood clots in the capillaries and loss of ability to form clots where needed; acute renal failure (kidney damage); coma and death.

Causes and Risk factors

Most bites occur in the summer months. The bite frequently is not felt initially and may not be immediately painful, but it can be serious. The brown recluse bears a potentially deadly hemotoxic venom. Most bites are minor with no necrosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

After initial evaluation, the following treatment may be provided: Tetanus immunization, pain medication, antibiotics if signs of infection are present in the wound and antihistamines. ...

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