When an individual is suspected with a brown recluse spider bite, it is vital to save the spider for identification purposes. Remember that various common types of spider or insect bites are often misdiagnosed as bites of the brown recluse spiders. If the individual has several lesions on the body at the same time especially if they occur on widely separated body parts or multiple episodes or several individuals have skin lesions at the same time, it is not likely a brown recluse spider bite.
The staph infections such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) are usually wrongly diagnosed as spider bites due to the indicative necrotic flesh caused by the venom.
First aid for a spider bite
Always bear in mind that first aid is the initial line of treatment to slow down the damage from a brown recluse spider bite. It is vital to wash the bite site and surrounding skin using warm water and soap.
Raising the bite site if it is on the leg or arm and securing a bandage above the site can slow down the spread of venom in the bloodstream. Apply an ice pack on the bite site for 10 minutes to reduce the swelling. Call the poison control center or a doctor regarding treatment. In case a systemic reaction occurs, seek immediate medical care.
Children who spend time in areas inhabited by brown recluse spiders face the risk of dying from a bite. On the other hand, a small percentage of cases of brown recluse spider bites can cause moderate or significant tissue damage and scarring. In most cases, the bites heal over time without requiring medical intervention.
Medical care for a brown recluse spider bite
Even at the present, there is still no antivenin for a brown recluse spider bite. Remember that the venom is capable of triggering a systemic reaction in the body that results to fluid build-up, swelling or even an allergic reaction. These can be managed with antihistamines, steroids and anti-inflammatory medications.
Antihistamines work by reversing an allergic response by the body to the venom. As for a steroid cream or injection, they work by reducing the pain and swelling. Antibiotics might also be given to minimize the risk for secondary infection as well as promote healing of the damaged skin.
Due to the risk for spreading ulceration and tissue death, the necrotic skin triggered by the venom from a brown recluse spider bite should be removed via surgery. Cutting the dead skin away can help promote the healing of the wound and initiate the development of healthy, new skin over the wound. In addition, surgery might be required after the skin has healed to help improve the appearance of any scars or craters left behind. An ulcer usually takes up to 6 weeks to completely heal as long as proper care is provided.