Symptoms and Signs of How to Treat Brown Recluse Spider Bites

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Medically Reviewed on 5/2/2019

Doctor's Notes on How to Treat Brown Recluse Spider Bites

Brown recluse spiders are small, yellow to tan, non-hairy spiders with a characteristic violin pattern on the back of the cephalothorax (the body part where the legs attach). These spiders are not aggressive and bite only when threatened, but their venom is extremely poisonous and causes tissue death in the area of the bite.

Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite include severe pain at the site and redness of the area. Sometimes there is a purple or blue area around the bite that is surrounded by a whitish ring and a large outer ring in a bull's eye pattern. Eventually, a blister forms at the site if the bite and sloughs off to leave a deep ulcer that may turn black. Associated symptoms can include fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, and muscle pain.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.