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Brown Recluse Spider Bite - Experience

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Comment from: Jeff, 45-54 Male Published: March 07

This has been the 3rd time being bitten by a brown recluse. The first time was in Alabama, which was on my neck. The bite had ulcerated my skin, and oozed the infectious poison the spider had delivered. It took roughly 3 to 5 weeks for it to fully heal, although there is still scarring to this day. The second time was in Michigan. I had brought up some wood from Alabama which is used to light a fire. I believe they call it lightered, or fatwood is what we describe it in Michigan. Well the brown recluse came from a knot hole in the wood and bit me on the hand. It oozed pus for 3 to 4 weeks, and I constantly put triple anti-biotic ointment on the bite. It eventually healed. The 3rd time was just recently in Michigan again. I believe when I brought this wood from Alabama to Michigan I brought back a nest of Brown Recluses, which are now loose in my home. I've bug bombed, sprayed, and killed at least 2 of them but I think that was not enough. They are one of the most elusive, and aggressive spiders I've ever dealt with in my life. I was actually bitten twice the last time I encountered these 8 legged devils. I was bitten on my ankle, and just in the back of my knee. Both are ulcerated, and have been extremely painful and very itchy, and still bleeding. This spider serves no purpose in life aside from making one miserable. It's unfortunate that there is NOT an anti-venom.

Comment from: arachnebleu, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 01

In 1972 when I was seventeen I was bitten on the back of the thigh by a spider which saved for the doctor. My doctor had never seen a spider like the one that bit me. My biology teacher identified it as a juvenile brown recluse. Eight hours after receiving the bite, I had a severe headache and was very sleepy. My thigh turned very red. 24 hours after receiving the bite I received a shot of epinephrine and antibiotic pills to take. By that time, I had turned bright red from head to toe and had a six to eight inch diameter purple blotch on my thigh. In the center was a black spot about the size of a half dollar. I was nauseated and had difficulty breathing. The rash itched unmercifully. It took three months to heal. The bite wound just looked kind of like a bruise and finally opened up about three and a half months after the initial bite. It took another three to four months to heal.

Comment from: Glo Berry, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 20

In November 2004 I was bitten on the ankle by brown recluse. I spent 3 months in hospital. I had three operations with one being a skin graft. I nearly lost my leg the infection was so bad. I lost the ability to walk and had to learn to do this again. I cannot describe the pain it was so bad. Here it is 2010 and I still have trouble with my leg. The skin is so damaged that the least nick or scrape creates a wound that is still hard to heal. There is lots of swelling on this leg also and the circulation is very poor.

Comment from: Tabs, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 04

I have been bitten by a Brown Recluse spider and I would also not wish this on my worst enemy. I also have rheumatoid arthritis. I cannot tell if the medication is making me feel this odd or the bite itself is, but I do NOT feel right and the bite is getting larger and very smelly although I am taking very good care of it. I was bitten twice on my right breast. I have been through quite a few problems in my life but never have I been this weak nor this afraid. Take care of yourselves.

Comment from: Duckhunter, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 29

I noticed a small bite on my forehead a few weeks ago. I had no idea what bit me, but I put a topical cream on the space to stop the itching. It wound started getting bigger and swelling. I would clean the wound daily, but then I started getting a fever and chills, with tenderness, which was very painful and started to move down one side of my face. My wife called the family doctor and told her that I might have been bitten by a brown recluse. The doctor calling in a sulfur-based antibiotic, which I was instructed to use twice daily. Swelling, redness and tenderness started going away but the hole and black skin increased. The doctor asked that I come in and agreed that it was a BRS. She had to remove the black dead skin, packed the hole with Mupirocin ointment that kills infection. I was told to keep covered 24/7 treat with Mupirocin ointment three times daily. I returned a week later with fresh pink skin smaller hole and no black skin. My doctor said to keep covered, and that the new tissue will continue to grow and cover the hole and there will be no scar. Within two weeks of antibiotics and ointment when I go back in 10 days, don't think there will be much left to heal. She said the secret to avoiding a scar is to keep wet and covered until healed.

Comment from: Salesgurl, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 23

The initial bite on my leg did not hurt and the next day thought I'd been bitten by a mosquito. Coincidentally I went to the dentist that same day and the hygienist asked why I was limping, I rolled up my pant leg and showed her the swollen wound on my leg. She gasped and said it was a Brown recluse bite and that a former patient had the same thing but no doctor would diagnose the bite accurately since Brown Recluses are not supposed to be in our area. The former patient ended up with 15 skin grafts and her arm looked like it had been mangled in a farming accident. The hygienist told me to go to the emergency room and no matter what the doctor said and DEMAND they listen to me and tell them I have a Brown recluse bite. She told me to demand they put me on this specific antibiotic. I caught the infection so early I barely have a scar but she was right no one in the emergency room believed me and wanted to send me home with pain meds. I pitched such a fit they prescribed this antibiotic. Brown recluses may not be indigenous to this area but they can certainly hitchhike their way up here in wood and other products. It's very hot and to their liking in the summers here so Emergency Rooms need to change their protocols and realize Brown Recluses can survive outside their typical range and habitat. Most painful thing I've ever gone through but I was one of the lucky ones! Early diagnosis and treatment is vital.

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