Bites and Stings: Everything You Must Know about the Spider Bite
Spiders can be one of the scariest and most dangerous insects of all time. However, not all of them are poisonous. There are over 40,000 species in the whole world and almost all of them are reported to be venomous. Spiders use this poison to hunt and kill their prey, especially in the wild. Some people think that spiders are hostile and aggressive creatures. However, this is not always true. Just like other animals and insects, they only fight and retaliate when their life is in danger. The spider venom helps them in both ways – to hunt and to protect.
In the United States, there are only two harmful spiders recorded: The Black Widow Spider, the Brown Recluse Spider, the Wolf Spider, and the Tarantula. The first one is recorded to produce a toxin strong enough to cause a systemic reaction to their prey. This impairs muscle and nerve functions in the body. If you see a shiny, black spider with a distinct red mark on its back, you are dealing with a Black Widow Spider. The following are the signs and symptoms when a human being is bitten by this particular species.
- A pair of tiny holes on the skin that looks like fang marks.
- Headache and Muscle Pain
- Rapid Pulse, Shortness of Breath, Dizziness, and Exhaustion
- Fever and Chills.
- Stiffness and pain in the Stomach
On the other hand, the Brown Recluse Spider has been studied to have a weaker poison than that of the Black Widow Spider. This species is less likely to cause injury to human beings when bitten. These creatures are only found in the Southeast United States and are considered to be one of the most difficult spiders to identify. They are usually described as having a violin-shaped mark on their midsection. However, it can be difficult to pinpoint because it is usually faint and inconsistent.
To diagnose the bite of this particular spider, experts have created a mnemonic (NOT RECLUSE) that rules out the symptoms that are not associated with the Brown Recluse Spider Bite. First, search for the spider bite and see if it has these following characteristics. If it does, it probably did not come from a Brown Recluse Spider.
Numerous: When there is more than one lesion on the skin, it is not from the Brown Recluse Spider. These spiders usually bite their victims once. Sometimes, twice at most.
Occurrence: Most Brown Recluse Spiders love to hide in attics, basements, closets, and boxes. If you got bitten in the garden, a different kind of spider must have bitten you.
Timing: Brown Recluse Spiders are common between the months of April to October. Any other month from that, you could have been bitten by another species.
Red Center: If it looks like an ant or a mosquito bite because of its red center, it did not come from a Brown Recluse Spider. Usually, the bite of this spider causes a pale, blue, or purple color on the skin.
Chronic: If the small bite does not heal after three weeks or if a big bite does not heal after three months, it probably isn’t from a Brown Recluse Spider.
Large: The biggest lesion caused by a Brown Recluse Spider bite is recorded to be 10 centimeters across or 4 inches. The surroundings of the bite could be reddish in color but the necrosis should not be any bigger if the bite came from this species.
Ulcerates too Early: To ulcerate means to break the skin and crust over. If it ulcerates within seven days, it’s not from the Brown Recluse Spider.
Swollen: Unlike most insect bites, the bite from this species is shrunken in the middle and not swollen. However, if you got bitten on the face, particularly the eyelids, you will need to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
Exudes moisture: If the bite produces pus, it is not a spider bite. Better check your doctor for this situation. You might have some form of skin infection that must be treated immediately.
The symptoms if you get bitten by the Brown Recluse Spider are the following:
- Redness on the skin surrounding the bite mark
- Pain on the bite within 2 to 8 hours
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Body Rash
- Chills and Body Aches
- Exhaustion, Nausea, and Vomiting
The next spider is known as the Wolf Spider; scientific name Lycosidae. This species originated from Australia and are commonly thought to be very dangerous. However, after further research, they have found that the bite from a Wolf Spider is not any different from the non-venomous species. It has a weaker toxin than that of the Black Widow Spider and the Brown Recluse Spider. A bite from this species can only cause minor injuries to human beings.
The Wolf Spider is known for not spinning webs. They use their perfect eyesight to hunt for their prey – a trait that is rare among spiders. Plus, you would be surprised to these their eyes glow when light shines toward them.
Wolf Spiders are solitary and they can live in diverse environments. They can be seen in grassy areas, camouflaging among dried leaves. These creatures are larger than most species. A Wolf Spider can grow up to 0.5 to 2 inches long. These creatures are naturally brown in color. But this color can change depending on their habitat. Just like most spiders, they only become aggressive when they get provoked. So, as much as possible, steer clear from them and do not disturb their peace. By any chance, you get bitten by a Wolf Spider, these are the following symptoms:
- Swelling and Blistering on the Skin
- Rashes around the Bite
- Breathing Problems and Dizziness
Tarantulas rarely bite human beings. However, when they are taunted, they might throw needle-like hairs to the skin that can trigger a mast cell degranulation and anaphylactoid reaction. Although tarantulas native to non-American continents are kept as pets, there are tarantula species that are very aggressive and must not be kept at home. The bite from a tarantula requires clinical evaluation. But remember not to jump to conclusions. You and your doctor must consider alternative diagnoses before applying the necessary treatments for the spider bite.
First aid and Treatment
- First and foremost, wash the bite area with soap and water.
- If possible, put an ice pack or a wet clothe on the site to relieve pain and swelling.
- Consult a doctor right away if you have any sign of an allergic reaction, and severe cramping.
- For ulcerating lesions, clean it regularly and debride as needed. Ask your doctor about a topical antibiotic ointment to avoid infection.
- For allergic reactions: take antihistamines as prescribed by the doctor.
- The necrotic lesions caused by the Brown Recluse Spider must be cleaned and bandaged regularly. Surgical excision must be delayed until the site is fully demarcated. However, it could take weeks or months to demarcate.
- For Black Widow Spider Bites, seek medical attention immediately. Usually, initial treatment includes parenteral opioids and benzodiazepines. Envenomation is also supported, depending on the severity of the bite.
Prevention of Spiders
Prevention is always better than cure. To avoid any bite incidents, make sure to make your house and your lawn spider proof. To do that, here are some quick tips to remember:
- Simple Lawn Treatment. Spiders lurk in our lawns and or gardens because it is a good source of food. They prey on smaller insects such as beetles, cockroaches, and other pests in the environment. So, if you do not want any spiders around, remove their food source by regularly spraying insecticides or pesticides. You can also use some DIY recipes to repel smaller pests from your backyard.
- Conduct a Thorough House Check-up. Spiders are categorized as winter pests because they cannot withstand the cold temperature. By the time the cold weather comes, they will put their best efforts to look for a safe home. Schedule a day to check the whole house for any holes and crevice where spiders and other insects can enter. Cover these entryways to avoid any pest to enter your home.
- Keep your area Clean. As we have discussed, spiders feed on smaller insects. And these smaller pests feed on food crumbs. If you want to prevent cockroach infestations at home, clean as you go. Do not leave any clutters around or else you will be inviting more than just spiders in your home.
Call for help
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Lake Norman Pest Control has been operating since the late 1900s. For over 50 years, they have proven their work by giving 100% satisfaction to all of their clients. The best part is, they pride themselves in using botanical and human-friendly means of pest control. So, you do not have to worry about the chemicals even if you have children, pets, or plants. For just $30.00 per month, you can have the pest-free life you deserve. Enjoy state-of-the-art pest extermination and prevention with the help of Lake Norman Pest Control.