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While most spider bites are harmless and only produce an itchy bump, there are a few spider species in the United States that can cause serious bites that are dangerous to humans. These two spiders are the black widow and the brown recluse. Most bites that people perceive to be spider bites are actually bites from other insect species. It is important that any insect bite, whether from a spider or not, be looked at by a medical professional immediately.

Causes, Risk Factors and Complications of Spider Bites

A black widow spider is jet black with a red hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen. When a black widow spider bites, the resulting sensation is similar to a pin prick. The brown recluse spider is orange-brown with a violin marking on the back. The bite of the brown recluse feels like a mild sting. The symptoms we experience when spiders bite result from the spider venom being injected into the bloodstream where it is allowed to circulate. The severity of the symptoms experienced will depend on what type of spider made the bite, how much venom was injected and how sensitive the body is to it. Both black widow and brown recluse spider bites can be serious. In some cases, these bites can be deadly depending on their location and the health of the affected individual. It is vitally essential that someone who was bitten by one of these spiders gets medical attention. This is because they can result in a myriad of serious symptoms. Some complications of spider bites include: kidney failure, coma or death.

Signs, Symptoms and Testsof Spider Bites

The symptoms associated with brown recluse and black widow bites are distinct. It is important to pay attention to the symptoms to determine which type of spider caused the bite. The symptoms associated with black widow bites typically correspond to where on the body the bite occurred and how much venom was injected into the body. Some symptoms include: dull and numbing pain, slight swelling, twin puncture marks, mild stinging where the bite occurred and rigidity or cramping in the abdominal muscles. Black widow spider bites can also cause a rash, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, fever, restlessness, anxiety, increased blood pressure, tremors, dizziness, profuse sweating and generalized pain.

Brown recluse spider bites have a different set of symptoms including a mild stinging or burning sensation where the bite is, swelling and redness, increasing pain over a period of two to eight hours, formation of a dusky blister at the bite location, general unwell feeling or malaise, fever, nausea, vomiting and general body aches. The easiest way to diagnose a spider bite is to know what spider created the bite. However, if the spider cannot be identified then a physician can treat the bite generally.

Treatment, Drugs and Preventionof Spider Bites

The primary treatment for all spider bites is to thoroughly clean the area using mild soap, to apply a cold pack to the bite for inflammation and pain reduction and to observe the bite for any indication of infection. Severe spider bites may require hospitalization. Brown recluse spider bites can cause necrosis or ulceration and specific medication, known as Dapsone, may need to be prescribed to prevent this from occurring. Surgical removal of any ulcerated tissue may also be required in brown recluse bites.