What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

These photos were received by me via e-mail to alert people to the danger of its bite. You may not be able to show the reaction on your website but you could alert everyone to be extremely cautious.
Jill Allford living in southwestern Missouri.

Thank you Jill,
We recently received the identical photos from another reader. The Brown Recluse bite causes the tissue around the bite to die leaving a horrible scar. We will build a new page devoted specifically to bites thanks to your letter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

3 Responses to Brown Recluse Spider (Bite)

  1. mikefreeman says:

    My wife and I were doing some research on Brown spider bites, and while this necrotic effect is sometimes seen with their bite, medical professionals haven’t been able to directly link the effect to the venom. They have, however, found large amounts of MRSA bacteria in them, which can cause large-scale infections and similar effects if left untreated.

    The bacteria is common on many people’s skin, and under fingernails. The bite of the Browns spider is extremely itchy (as my wife can attest, as she’s been bitten). Some have theorized that instead of the bite causing this effect, people scratch at the itchy bite, pushing MRSA bacteria into the open bite holes, beginning an infection. Unknowing medical professionals treat it as a venomous bite rather than a bacterial infection, and it gets out of control, killing the affected flesh.

    So, the first thing I would do if bitten: wash hands and under the fingernails, don’t scratch at the bite, and if it does begin to change color or grow larger (beyond a small red bite-bump), see your doctor and in addition to letting them know about the bite, insist that they check for bacterial infection as well.

    Just a thought. These spiders might not be as dangerous as advertised! 🙂

    • Heather Buckholtz says:

      I would definitely put stock in the idea that large scale infections are bacteria related and not just the result of venom.
      Having grown up in an older home in north east Arkansas, brown recluses were just a way of life. Every since I can remember it was a common thing to find them in your shoes, crawling on your clothes in the closet, in bed with you, or just doing a little dance up your arm. My parents and I were fairly frequently bitten, but it never amounted to anything more than a very itchy welt. If it happened during sleep, generally the only evidence was a bite mark (varying degrees of size and redness). Interestingly, if it ever happened during sleep, there was rarely any itchiness. Wouldn’t have believed it was a recluse if it weren’t for the dead one under the sheet, poor little fellow must have been crushed.
      My husband’s childhood home was also infested with them, FAR more than my home. In one day he caught over 30 of varying sizes on 3 different glue pads in his bathroom alone. Again, he was no doubt bitten several times and no severe necrosis was the result.
      Not a spider I’m just thrilled to see, but I think we have a lot more to learn about them.

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