Viewer Comments: Brown Recluse Spider Bite - Symptoms

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Brown Recluse Spider Bite - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your brown recluse spider bite?

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Comment from: BVav, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 15

I kept getting bites on my fingers while working outdoors. They were small and looked like red ant bites but itched like crazy. After a day or two the tissue was deteriorating into a hole. The scab even looked bad. I treated it with cream and bandages. I woke up a few days later and my forearm felt bruised and swollen but I assumed I hit it in my sleep. After two weeks I finally went to CVS Minute Clinic and they gave me antibiotics which created a huge abscess on my arm which was starting to hurt. I went to the emergency room and had to have it lanced, wow, that hurt. They packed the hole with gauze and I went back yesterday to a real doctor who removed packing and gave me 2 kinds of antibiotics. I have a huge hole in my arm and draining it heals fast. Do not wait if you think you were bitten by a brown recluse spider. The lancing was more painful than childbirth and the scar is permanent.

Comment from: Shoshana, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 25

I awakened with what looked a two small whiteheads, one on each wrist. Apparently I had been sleeping with my wrists crossed above my head. Within two days the whiteheads were replaced by two, nickel-sized raised pink/red patches. A day after that, during which time both became quite itchy, a larger than quarter-sized crinkly patch appeared. I had, prior to the above, been unpacking boxes which had been in storage for a couple of years. Also, all of a sudden I began seeing numerous spiders which I associated with the opening of boxes which had been in storage. I had seen a news story several year before about brown recluse spider bites. Because the spiders I had noticed were plentiful, I managed to catch one and brought to emergency room where it was identified as a brown recluse. I was put on antibiotics and within four days black scabs fell off. Now, more than a decade later, I still have two small scars, one on the back of each wrist.

Comment from: cctow97, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 19

I was bitten by a brown recluse spider several years back, on the front of my right hip at around 6 am. The bite began with itchiness. I initially thought it was because I had mowed grass the day before and maybe 'got into something' that was causing the itch. By 2 pm, I noticed my hip was badly bruised. I didn't remember running into anything and didn't think I had scratched that hard. Then it dawned on me when I had gotten out of the shower that morning there was a dead spider laying on the bath mat that wasn't there before I got in and I figured I'd gotten bit. I left work (which was 50 miles from home) to go have the area checked out at my local emergency room (ER). By 3 pm, I was feverish, had excruciating burning across my hip, was so red from head to toe that it looked like I had baked in the sun for a month straight, and I was swollen around from my belly button to the middle of my back. (Picture wearing half of an inner tube!) I took the spider with me to the ER to show the doctor, but I knew it was a recluse, you could see the fiddle. I was in so much pain in the ER that it hurt to sit or lie down and I was so nauseated that I just wanted to throw up and sleep! By 6 pm, the ER doctors confirmed the spider was a recluse so they gave me a tetanus shot. Because of the systematic reaction I was having, they wanted to admit me right then and there. I told them I was a single mom and I had to go home to make arrangements for my kids. After doing this, I checked into the hospital and was apparently their star attraction. They had never seen/treated anyone who had had such a severe reaction to recluse venom. I had people in and out of my room at all hours. I was hospitalized for a week, during which time I was being monitored for kidney/liver/heart failure. My entire system had bottomed out, when I was previously healthy as a horse! By the end of the week, the bite area was black with three white 'pimples'. I was off work and on home care for almost a month before I was well enough for debridement surgery. They cut seven inches across, three inches wide and all the way down to my hip bone. (What I now call poor man's liposuction!) I had ringing in my ears for a month after the bite, heart palpitations and could hear my heart pounding in my ears for two weeks after getting out of the hospital. I was off work from May through July. I still have a nasty scar from the experience and they told me if I'm ever bitten again, it could kill me next time.

Comment from: trujillokaren, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

At first it itched severely the swelled within 2 hours within 4 hours i had to cut rings off within severe pain, nausea, and vomiting for 4 hours. Venom made my skin open in severe pain shortness of breath rushed to hospital and had a redline from wrist to elbow with hand and arm swelling 3 x its size. I literally passed out from pain 5 and had to have antibiotic. I was in the hospital for 8 days and had iv s for 8 days , wound was sewed open to drain venom. Today 5 months later cannot use my right hand or straighten ring finger and have no insurance to have any therapy, and the visual signs of venom are still present. My joint is very swollen and I have nerve damage.

Comment from: Karen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 07

I have been bitten twice by brown recluse spiders here in Texas. Neither time did I notice the bite as anything usual until tissue necrosis set in. It could have been a mosquito or ant bite for the first few hours “ I never had any significant pain. The first time was on my arm, and I swelled up in my face to the point my left eye swelled closed. The swelling was more on the same side of the bite. I was treated at the emergency room for an allergic reaction with a Benadryl injection. The swelling and ill feeling cleared up. Later, I got the classic black sore ringed by red. It never hurt even though multiple layers of skin dried up, decayed, and fell off. I kept it covered and doused with antibiotic ointment. I could easily see the layer of fat underneath the skin when it was at its deepest. It took a while to heal, but left no scar. My skin loss area was never bigger than a 50-cent piece. The next time I got bit was on my nose. My reaction was about the same, but the skin loss was only the size of a nickel. My doctor said I would need a skin graft, but my nose healed with only a minor divot that I don't think is very noticeable. It healed much faster on my nose than it did on my arm. So, in my case the bites were not so bad.


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Brown Recluse Spider Bite - Treatment

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