Spider Bites on Humans

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Spider Bites on Humans

Almost all spiders are venomous. Venom is crucial in how they attack and kill their prey. However, most spiders are too small, or their venom is too weak, to be dangerous to humans. In America, the black widow spiders are considered the most venomous. Brown recluse spiders are also dangerous to humans, but are less likely to cause significant injury.
It is difficult to determine whether or not a person has been bitten by a spider, and if so, what kind of spider. Many bug bites have the same local reactions including; redness, swelling, itching, and pain. Beyond this, the typical symptoms of a black widow spider bite will include chills, fever, vomiting, and/or severe abdominal pain. Joints and muscles may feel stiff or rigid as the spider’s venom tends to attack the nerves.

The bite of a brown recluse spider produces a mild stinging, followed by local redness and more intense pain. The bite site might become blue and purple in color, and become surrounded by a white ring forming a “bulls-eye” pattern. A fluid-filled blister will form and then slough off to reveal a deeper ulcer. Because the venom of a brown recluse spider is necrotic, it is actually killing the tissue around and beneath the bite site.
If a person believes they have been bitten by a spider they should wash the site of the spider bite immediately and apply a cool compress to the location. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to relieve symptoms. A person should seek medical attention if they begin to experience an allergic reaction or more extreme symptoms.

   If the person believes they were bitten by a black widow or a brown recluse spider, they should, again, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. They should then elevate the area to prevent the venom from spreading. A bandage should be tied snugly above the area to further reduce the spread of venom. Most importantly, seek medical attention immediately. An antivenin may sometimes be administered in the case of a black widow spider bite. Doctors may also use pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and/or corticosteroids to help treat the spider bite. If it is possible, retrieve the spider and bring it with you to the doctor so that it can be more definitively identified. In some cases, a tetanus booster shot may be necessary.

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