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.
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.
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.