Brown Recluse Spider
One of the most notorious spiders which gets a lot of bad
press. These brown recluse spiders were captured in extreme
Southern Illinois and commonly make their homes under rocks,
logs, and abandoned cabins. They are usually non aggressive,
and bites are usually sustained by rolling over in bed, putting
on socks and shoes, or carrying boxes out of a dark basement.
It's very common for this bite to be painless at the time
that it occurs. The brown recluse spider is also called, the
'fiddleback spider' or 'violin spider' due to the dark violin
shape on its cephalothorax (head). The venom is not completely
understood, however we do know that it causes severe tissue
death at the bite site and less often generalized reactions
including renal failure, and even death. After 6-8 hours of
a stinging sensation, there will be aching and severe itching
at the area. In 2-3 days an ulcer may occur at the bite site.
After 2-5 weeks, a rather noticeable hole in the skin can
occur. The best way to identify a brown recluse spider bite
is by identification of the spider.
The two pictures above are from Southern Illinois while the
two at the bottom are from Arkansas. Notice the differences
in size and color.
Arkansas recluse photos by:
Launa McCray R.N.
Outdoor Treatment for Brown Recluse
Elevation of the extremity is important.
Cool compresses rather than warm are important. Tetanus update
should be provided. Keep the bite site clean until reaching
your health care provider for further treatment. Antihistamines
may help control itching but will not change the wound. Sometimes
surgical excision of the wound site needs to occur.