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A spider bite is a small puncture wound followed by redness, itching and swelling. Spiders belong to a class of arachnids that include 8-legged anthropods like scorpions, ticks and mites. Symptoms of aranchida bites are medically termed as arachindism. However, spider bites are very rare and majority of spiders in the U.S. are harmless except for black widow and brown recluse. Painful syndrome caused by black widow envenomation is known as lactrodectism.

Black Widow Bite Symptoms

Most spider bites in the U.S. come from a female black widow. Black widow spider is distinguished by its hourglass-shaped red marking on the abdomen. It is shiny black spider that can reach up to one inch in length, while its leg span is around two inches. Black widow spider generally likes warmer climates and is usually found in woodpiles, sheds, closets, attics, basements, trash and other dark piles. Although black widow spider bite usually causes serious symptoms, it is rarely fatal. The bite site swells and commonly appears as pale area surrounded by a red ring. Within a first few hours a sufferer experiences severe pain and cramps in the shoulders, back, abdomen and thighs. Black widow spider bite is also accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sweating, headache, itching, weakness, fever, chills, difficulty in breathing and high blood pressure. Most common sites of black widow bite are buttocks, genitals and extremities.

Brown Recluse Bite SymptomsBrown recluse can be easily identified by its marking in a shape of a violin. It is a light brown spider and is about half-inch long. This spider is usually found in dark, quiet places hence the name “recluse”. Brown recluse spider bite is not as dangerous as black widow bite but it can produce painful symptoms anyway. In most cases, people are not aware that they have been bitten by brown recluse. However, symptoms of brown recluse bite start to appear within 10 minutes. Initially, there may be burning and itching at the bite site. Redness and fluid-filled blisters form at the wound site. These blisters break open and leave deep and enlarging ulcers that can produce intense pain. Fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches can be also present.

Spider Bite TreatmentPain caused by a black widow spider bite can be relieved with parenteral narcotics or muscle relaxants such as methocarbamol and diazepam. The pain and muscular rigidity can be also treated with calcium gluconate. Anti-venom for black widow spider bite may be also given. Brown recluse bite is usually treated with antibiotics and sometimes surgery may be needed if the wound becomes deep and infected.

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