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Wilderness: Black Widow and Recluse Spider Bite (cont.)

Spider Bite Symptoms

Patient Comments

Black widow a spider bites result in a halo lesion consisting of a pale circular area surrounded by a ring of redness.

  • The initial bite of the black widow spider is usually painful, and the victim will often note the spider during the bite.
  • Numbness, tingling, rashes, sweating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, cramps, rigid abdominal muscles, chest tightness, weakness, and difficulty breathing may occur.
  • The abdominal pain due to the spider bite can be so severe that it mimics abdominal medical conditions such as pancreatitis.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a possible reaction to the venom.

Brown recluse bites are tender, red, swollen, and form blisters. The initial bite may or may not be noticed by the victim.

  • Brown recluse bites cause local swelling, pain, itching, redness, tenderness, and blisters. They eventually form large ulcers and may cause tissue necrosis (death of the tissue in the area of the bite).
  • Fever, chills, rash, nausea, and vomiting may develop.
  • More severe reactions include kidney failure, blood coagulation abnormalities, and difficulty breathing. Death can occur. Symptoms of allergic reaction may be present.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/18/2014

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Black Widow and Brown Recluse Spider Bite - Symptoms

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Spider Envenomations, Brown Recluse »

In the United States, reports of severe envenomations by brown spiders began to appear in the late 1800s, and today, in endemic areas, brown spiders continue to be of significant clinical concern.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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