The brown recluse—also called a fiddleback or brown fiddler because of its violin-shaped dorsal markings—is a venomous spider whose bites sometimes require medical attention. It is native to the U.S. in regions that span from the Midwest to Central Texas. Because its bites are medically significant, below are the steps to take if you've been bitten by a brown recluse.
What to Do If You've Been Bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider
1. Apply a Cool Compress
Press a cool, damp cloth or an ice pack to the wound. This will help alleviate pain and limit the swelling. No over-the-counter medicine is available to counteract this type of bite, so treatment depends on how the symptoms progress.
2. Identify the Spider
The brown recluse is normally between 1/4 and 3/4-inch long and can be any color between whitish-gray and dark brown. Most keep to themselves, and they only bite if they feel cornered. If you see a spider with a fiddle pattern on its back, proceed with caution. You can try to trap the spider, but do not risk your safety in the process. It may be better to call pest control to handle the issue instead.
2. Respond to Symptoms
A brown recluse's venom is necrotic and can wear away tissue over time. The bite starts with a sharp sting, like a bee sting, and leaves a sore, red blister. After a day or two, the skin around the wound may start to deteriorate into an open sore, and you may experience fever and chills. Additionally, you may develop a whole-body skin rash of red and purple spots, followed by nausea and vomiting.
3. Treat a Closed Wound
If an open sore does not form, simply apply the compress and keep the bite elevated. Take aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen for pain. Do not touch or squeeze the blister.
4. Treat an Open Wound
If an open sore forms, seek medical treatment immediately. It may require the removal of necrotic tissue and, if severe enough, a possible skin graft. A doctor can also prescribe antibiotics if an infection develops.
To make sure a brown recluse spider bite never happens to you or your family again, contact All-Rite Pest Control in Versailles, KY. They are owned and operated by a board-certified entomologist and have been serving clients in and around Woodford County since 1972. They also specialize in ridding your home of bed bugs, carpenter ants, termites, and mice. Visit their website to submit a contact request form, and call (859) 873-1400 to schedule a consultation.