Wood Spider Bites

What You Should Know
The brown recluse spider, sometimes called a “”fiddle back” spider, is light tan to dark brown in color and has a dark violin-shaped mark on its back. It is about the size of a quarter; walks on long, thin legs; and hides in dark, dry, warm places like a closet or woodpile. When it gets trapped under bed sheets or in your clothing, it can deliver a serious bite.
Signs/Symptoms
You’re likely to suffer itching, redness, rash, blister, pain, or swelling in the area of skin where you were bitten. You may also become nauseated; vomit; perspire; and develop a headache, chills, or fever.
Care
Unless the bite area gets worse or other symptoms arise, follow the directions below. You may also need medicine for an infection, pain, swelling, or itching.

What You Should Do

  • Wash the skin where you were bitten with soap and water.
  • Apply an ice pack or cool compress several times a day for 24 to 48 hours. To help reduce redness and swelling, keep the bite area raised above the level of your heart. DO NOT use heat.
  • Soak the area daily in Burow’s solution (available in drug stores without a prescription).
  • Do not scratch the bite area. Keep it clean and covered with an adhesive or sterile gauze bandage.

To avoid another spider bite:

  • Remove wood piles and other rubbish from outside areas.
  • Thoroughly clean closets, sheds, and attics.
  • Wear gloves, shoes, and long sleeves and pants when doing such chores.
  • Shake out clothing (especially old clothing) and shoes before putting them on.
  • Look for spiders under the sheets before getting into bed.
  • To frighten spiders away, make noise when entering attics or other spaces where they may be living.
  • Chemical pest control may be necessary. However, it doesn’t always work.
  • If you have been given a tetanus shot, your arm may get swollen, red, and warm to the touch at the site of the injection. This is a normal response to the medicine in the shot.

Call Your Doctor If…

  • Your symptoms do not improve in a few hours.
  • You have increasing pain to the bite area (even though it may not look worse).

Seek Care Immediately If…

  • The bite area appears to be getting bigger (more than 1/4 inch) or growing deeper.
  • You have a high temperature; chills; nausea; vomiting; muscle aches; weakness; extreme tiredness; seizures; or a measles-like or red, raised rash.
  • You have blood in your urine or any other unusual bleeding.
  • Your skin turns yellow.