Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Question:

What was your experience with brown recluse spider bite? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Corri M, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 21

I was bitten last Sunday 9/16/2018. One bite on the neck. Brushed something off not feeling a bite but noticed what I recognized as a brown recluse spider. Noticed a small bite that seemed hard but not itchy or sore after showering. Next day it was very sore and slightly itchy. Within 48 hours it formed a blister and felt like an oven burn. Urgent care put me on prednisone and Augmentin. It is now Thursday and I've had continual headache and general fatigue with sore joints. I am applying ice packs.

Comment from: Dmp, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 24

I was bitten on my inner arm area at the elbow by what I believe was a brown recluse spider, in October 2017. Since then I have had reoccurring joint swelling and pain on various joints, mostly on the same side as my bite. I believe it's given me some sort of autoimmune disorder. Previous to this I was extremely healthy.

Comment from: Lbarrett, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 23

I felt something crawling under my shirt, I reached back to slap it and a spider fell out of my shirt. I felt a sting like a bee sting. Next day I developed a fever and swollen itchy skin at the bite site. The doctor diagnosed venomous spider bite. There are only two poisonous spiders in our area of Oklahoma. I had seen that the spider was brown, so must have been a brown recluse. The doctor could see the bite site and the area where the toxin had spread. I began antihistamine and antibiotic.

Comment from: Jeffro, 45-54 (Patient) Published: July 20

Five years ago I was bit by a brown recluse spider! If your infection comes back on your buttock, or your back it is in your blood! I have been dealing with a spider bite for years, and the doctor says the poison is all in my bloodstream! Another round of lying in a bed for a month to get rid of this poison!

Comment from: Reese B., 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 11

I live in Alaska where these brown recluse spiders are not indigenous but have been imported by travelers and imported goods. Anyway, I had a blister at first and when I went to poke a hole in it you could hear the air come out of it. After, it wouldn't heal but remained small. Two months later I had a scar that resembled a burn. I was lucky because mine didn't spread as I have seen others do.

Comment from: Mina, 45-54 (Patient) Published: July 05

I woke up with a trail of 3 bites on my calf; each a white area with 2 puncture marks, surrounded by a red ring about the size of a Loonie coin. I washed it with soap and kept an eye on it for 2 days, while the area swelled and got bigger. I felt quite lethargic, I went to the doctor, and he knew what it was, a brown recluse spider, and prescribed oral antibiotics and a topical antibiotic ointment. It has been two days since starting the antibiotics, and the bites are less swollen and less red.

Comment from: Timmay, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 31

A brown recluse spider was in my shoe and bit me on the top of my foot, right by my toes (middle). At first, I had pain in my foot, but I thought it was from playing soccer. When my foot began to get swollen, I went to some day care and got some antibiotics. The swelling went down, and all was well. I will admit, it hurt to walk for about a week. It felt like I broke bones in my foot.

Comment from: Compgeek 101, 45-54 (Patient) Published: May 29

Brown recluse spider bite is scary! It started on my hand, went all over my body, and refused to go away. I have had steroids and other stuff to help but it don't seem to work.

Comment from: Web Thrower, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: April 25

The brown recluse spider is where some will tell you they are not. Base your bite decision on the symptoms and where you were at and doing 6 to 20 hours before the bite took place. I burn wood and have a large shed and it does have brown recluse spiders, no bed bugs, no ant bites! I live in central Lower Michigan, I'm 77 years old. I was bitten 5 years ago and have two brown fang spots to prove it. I was bitten again around 4-8-2018 many times. The brown recluse spider was in my right glove and lightly nibble-bit me on the hand 3 times [nibble bite about the size of a black fly bite]. Next it went to my wrist coat cuff and bit me 8 times severely. Now after 2 weeks I have a dime size and quarter sized black spot wounds. It nibble-bit my wrist joint and my lower elbow 20 times. It bit me on the elbow 2 times, moderate bites red with white spot in center. It went down my back at belt line and nibble-bit in 3 more places. It went up my back and out my left sleeve and bit one nibble wound on its way out. I was loading wood at the time and didn't feel a thing or see the spider. After a day or so the pain was ice pick extreme. I'm in good shape so I didn't go to a doctor. I don't suggest others doing this! I'm not over it yet, but am back to my normal work load with slight pain.

Comment from: E musekamp, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 26

I believe I was bitten by a brown recluse spider 3 to 4 days ago. I did not know I was even bit, until I scratched the affected area. I went to my physician, and he ordered Bactrim and a topical lidocaine. That was yesterday, and I am experiencing extreme pain, the bite is located in my pubic area. It is painful to sit or have clothes brush against the affected area. It is 5 days since the initial bite and the pain is almost unbearable.

Comment from: Kelly, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I was bit by a brown recluse spider in 1999 I was 22. A few of us after work decided to get some drinks and food and the restaurant had tables outside where we sat at. Late evening I had my legs on another chair relaxing while waiting on other servers to finish closing. This is where the spider had to have gotten in contact with me (I was wearing shorts) and I believe this is where it crawled up to where the crease of your stomach is when you sit down and when I bent over or sat back down I was bitten. Upon arriving home I got in the shower and I scratched the area as well because it was itching. A few days to a week later I had gotten really sick and had noticed the mark on my stomach and made appointment to see the doctor the next day. Well, the doctor told me that I was bitten by a brown recluse and that my scratching my stomach helped get some of the sac off me but the doctor still had to scrape some of the poison out, for which he did have to cut me open and scrape the poison out. He finished scraping the venom out, then he stuffed about 3 feet of gauze in it and I believe about a week later I went back and he took the gauze out and said it has to heal from the inside out, so I had a nice size hole under my belly button until it healed.

Comment from: kath., 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I had a brown recluse spider bite when I was still in high school. So, back in the 19 hundreds. It had to be 1976ish. I still have a dime size tissue gone in my lower foreleg. The venom went into my blood stream and I had trouble breathing. I had to go to the emergency room because my Mom knew something was horribly wrong for me to miss school. I loved going to school. They didn't know what it was at first, as brown recluses were not known to live in Washington State. Well, they do!

Comment from: Dan, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 06

I was bitten by a brown recluse spider behind my ear. I did not know that I was bitten, long story short a huge boil looking thing was behind my ear. The pain started, then fever and hallucinations. I tried to be my own doctor and let the bite drain for 2 weeks; endless draining, could fill a coffee cup up easily. Well, a month later I was healed up but I lost major weight. My body started breaking down slowly puking every day, finally I was puking up bile, and pain set in bad in my stomach. I ended up in the emergency room because the doctor could see the spider bite 2 months later. I looked so bad they were asking me if I was a homeless drug addict! I tried to explain but no one would listen. They were telling me I had pancreatitis, etc. Well, they ruled that out but they couldn't diagnose me with anything, just had a lot of IVs. What a horrid experience, I have never been the same since. I should have got treated early, my fault. My jaw is permanently messed up, the right side of my face also, and nervous system. I think I was bitten 3 times, I have pictures pretty nasty!

Comment from: Terri, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 06

I am still in the process. I was bitten by a brown recluse spider 5 weeks ago. I just had to write in case this information will help anyone. I was bitten and several days later it blistered and popped. Several more days and it developed the black fang looking hole/scab with red ring around. I immediately began treating with essential oil 'On Guard' by Doterra. (No, I don't sell it.) I also put a drop under my tongue every morning and night. It didn't do anything; for 4 weeks. It just stayed the same size, and didn't itch much or hurt at all. Just about a 1 inch size red spot with 1/4 black fang scab in the middle. I got so confident with it. I wanted to see what would happen (embarrassed to admit). I pulled off the scab and didn't treat it for a few days (with the oil). It immediately began to spread all over the area (I think I spread the venom around), and it itched severely. I know I can't stand not to scratch (at night when I'm sleepy) and that seems to spread it more. I've been getting chills and itching has spread systemically. Needless to say, I started taking the oils again (also taking boswellia, not sure which was helping before), but it is having a hard time catching up.

Comment from: Dori, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 26

It was May 1973 just before my son's 8th birthday and we had gotten a call from his school around noon to pick him up. He was sick with a high fever and had a swollen area on his lower back the size of a half dollar with an indentation in the center. We rushed him to his doctor who diagnosed him with a throat infection, asked him what happened to his back, and when my son said he fell while getting off the bus at school, the doctor assumed the swollen area on his back was an injury from the fall. He sent him home with an antibiotic. A few hours after resting quietly in bed, he got up to go to the bathroom and screamed when all he was urinating was blood. We rushed him to the emergency room and a surgeon knew instantly that he had been bitten by an insect of some sort. Blood test revealed that he was bitten by a brown recluse spider. He was given fluid and steroids. A catheter drained blood from his kidneys. All we could do was pray as we listened to our child scream in pain for hours. The entire side of his back and chest had hardened and we were told that due to systemic toxicity, he most likely would not live through the night. After he had made it through the night, we were told not to get our hopes up, the hardened areas could slough off exposing his heart and lungs. Gradually, over the next few days, his condition improved and he celebrated his birthday in the hospital where many people came by to see what the doctors were calling 'the miracle child.' Most kids don't survive what he went through. Today, he has only a large scar on his back. These spiders are not to be ignored. We had never heard of them until our son was bitten and he was the first reported victim in our county. Sometimes the only way to know that they exist in your home is to lay glue traps along the baseboard. If you find one, there most likely are hundreds or thousands more that you don't see.

Comment from: Bitten and swollen, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 17

I was bit by a brown recluse spider in between my little toe and next. I could barely see it but it became white the next day. I was in pain but not sick to my stomach. We went to an urgent care two days later and the doctor gave me a light antibiotic. We then went on vacation for 3 days to South Padre island. My foot swelled up like a football. I was putting heat on it and that is a mistake. Always put ice around the swollen area. My foot looked like a soft ball mitt and the color around my toes was a dark red going to purple. I went to a hospital and they admitted me right away. They gave me a powerful antibiotic shot then a tetanus shot, then observed me in the emergency room for 3 hours. I am now on powerful antibiotics and Benadryl cream. And I take diphenhydramine during the day and night. You must do these things until the bite site heals, or it is surgery.

Comment from: snoopy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 24

I was bitten by a brown recluse spider in September 2005. It was located above my right breast. I did not know that I had even been bitten until the next day. I had a fever of 102 and a spot that went from a pimple size to a half dollar. I had to have surgery and every other day go to the surgeon to remove dead tissue. After 2 weeks I was able to handle my wound at home. I have been sick ever since. I honestly believe it triggered rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that was dormant in my system and perhaps would have developed in my later age. I am now disabled due to RA and back problems.

Comment from: Izzy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 27

I was bitten by a brown recluse spider in June of 2014. It must have walked and bitten me 3 times. I felt the pain under my long pants, took them off, shook out the critter and smashed it. I had large open weeping painful sores for about 10 weeks. They left scars, the largest of which must have been the first bite where the most venom was left. Up to now this is pretty much the same as everyone else's story. This May, I developed a bad asthma attack and pneumonia and was placed on steroids which dropped my immune system. What do you know! In the area of the largest scar, it erupted as if it were a brand new bite. My doctor said there must have been enough old venom hidden in there to react when my immune system was down. I've been on antibiotics again for 5 weeks with little progress. Grouchy and pesky little critters.

Comment from: Amanda, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 10

I just posted how I treated my brown recluse spider bite but I didn't have enough room to say I have a scar from, it but it's not that big. I'm pretty proud of myself for having done it on my own without knowing what it was till I described it to a friend and it matched the bite of a brown recluse. I was 34 at the time. And it was on my upper thigh!

Comment from: robertscottbutrym, 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 13

My girlfriend got bitten by a brown recluse spider in Pittsburgh 25 years ago. My boss got bitten last year. Your coverage map is too small, the Indian doctors use this map and don't treat the bite for what it is. My boss was told there are no brown recluse spiders here in Pittsburgh. He spent 3 days in different hospitals. His wound was showing 2 X 3 inches in his muscle. Please correct map, you will save lives. Thank you.

Comment from: go, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: May 05

I was bit on the face by a brown recluse spider and I think the venom got in my brain. All I got was brain damage, wish it was like spider man!

Comment from: Spiderbitevictim, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 07

If you think that you have been bit by a spider, go to the doctor immediately, and do not wait. Spider bites look rather harmless in the beginning, but they get worse within hours. I now have a ring of necrotic holes in my skin. It started out looking like acne. I feel dizzy and my joints and muscles ache. I feel slightly nauseated. I hate spiders.

Comment from: pamela, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 17

June of 2014 I noticed a dime size lesion on lower abdomen. I suspected a brown recluse spider bite and went to my surgeon. He didn't seem to have the same opinion, but did aspirate the lesion which produced mostly blood. This area healed totally leaving only a light brown discoloration of the skin. Now, March 2015, the same lesion has reappeared. The center is necrotic with a half dollar size area of very inflamed area encircling. This was approximately one week ago, and it is getting more swollen. I am leaving on a 3 day vacation, and am going to wait until I return to go back to the surgeon. I am wondering if spider bites return if all the venom wasn't removed at the first aspiration.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 06

On my right calf I have two puncture wounds that haven't healed. My leg hurts from the bites down. Sometimes it is hard to walk. I had very high blood pressure after I was bitten. It has been a month and one bite hasn't healed and I am getting a little worried. I am sure it is some kind of spider bite because I destroyed a couple of nests outside my front door.

Comment from: Colincrnstn, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 06

Unbelievable, I was bitten 6 months ago in a hotel laundry/ironing room where it was warm dark, unventilated and for most of the time without people. The symptoms were classic, the shock and unbelief of what this spider can do to you is awesome. After the initial operations and daily wound care the side effects not usually known were nausea, dizziness, failing eyesight, liver, kidney and pancreas monitoring and high antibiotic medication together with steroid treatment to stop inflammation. Then a series of painful ulcers developing on the spine requiring 8 operations. One ulcer or abscess was 87mm in Diameter on my spine. The Doctors here in England were very good but had no experience such as Doctors in USA with this type of incident. Now 6 months later I am experiencing major stomach issues the antibiotics I had killed off my natural good bacteria and I have just started treatment to get rid of a C' Diff infection so all in all the little spider is very powerful if it bites you get to the nearest hospital and prepare yourself for 6-12 months of pain and tribulations.

Comment from: brenda, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 09

I was bitten by a brown recluse spider I never felt it when it bit me it was on my little finger as the day wore on it got worse by midnight I was in severe pain all I could do was squeeze and hold it tight I went to the doctor but they could not get the shot in it was to swollen. I got some pills the pharmacists told me someone said take a small piece of clear plastic wrap and twist it around my finger when it would fall off I'd do it again. It would get really wet like it was drawing out the poison after a few weeks it healed and there's hardly a scar.

Comment from: oldsoullikemine, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I was bitten about 3 hours ago on the inside of my upper left arm and I have the spider in a bag. My husband saw it on my arm and tried to squash it, but in the process helped it's fangs to sink into my skin. I was bitten once before a few years ago but I was sleeping when it happened and I almost died! The doctor at the ER to said if I hadn't been brought that night I would have been dead by morning.

Comment from: guestnurse, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 18

I woke up on Saturday feeling nauseaus and light-headed. I noted that night a white spot with red spot by it on my right upper thigh/groin area. The next day spot was significantly larger and more painful. I started putting heat packs on it thinking it was just a boil. I was running fevers had chills and feeling achy all over. I went to the doctor and was prescribed antibiotics. I went to the emergency room very lethargic, weak, barely able to walk. I was admitted and given IV fluids and antibiotics. My kidneys had started shutting down. Friday went to surgery to have to abcess opened and necrotic area cleaned out which had tunneled under the skin. I went home doing twice-a-day packing to the wound. The wound is healing very well now but still am having pain to my kidneys occasionally so will go to doctor to get them checked again.

Comment from: Denice, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 15

I was getting ready for work when my side started itching. I raised my shirt to see a long large welt on the left side. I thought it was a mosquito bite. By the end of the day my side was swelled up, red and hot. I had a rash all over my body and face. I went to clinic next morning. Bite site was small hole with black spot in center. I had a fever and side was burning. This is day six and now it is purple with big blisters on the area and redness around surrounding skin the size of a dinner plate.

Comment from: GASMAN, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 23

On the first day, I had a red bump with small holes from the fangs. Then on the third day, I developed severe itching. Later, the ulcer started to eat away at the skin. The ulcer was about the size of a quarter and about a half-inch deep.

Comment from: Flor, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

At first after the bit, I just felt minor itching on my leg. The next morning, I woke up to see a huge blister had formed. I just washed it off with alcohol and covered it up. The blister expanded rapidly with pain and redness expanding from it. I went to doctor the next day who diagnosed it and put me on medications and told me to make sure I keep it clean and change dressings. I am also to use antibiotic cream daily.

Published: June 28

I was recently bitten by a brown recluse. It was very painful and there was a lot of pus coming from the bite. It's been three weeks and it still itches like mad.

Comment from: 55-64 Female Published: June 10

I was bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider Easter Day 1985. Didn't know that was what happened until a couple of days later when I went to the doctor because of the severe pain. The bite was under my left arm and happened when I put my suit coat on (it had been hanging for two days in a rarely used dark, wooden closet of my Mother's old house and I thought I had been stuck from a pin left by the dry cleaners. It was sharp and painful. Within 48 hours the underside of my arm was black, extremely swollen and I couldn't stand to let it touch my body. Went to doctor and he informed me what it actually was. He gave me two shots and had me come back 48 hours later for two more. It cleared up before the next weekend thanks to his treatment. But he also let me know that if I hadn't come to him when I did I would have possibly/probably died within the next 24 to 36 hours because the bite was in proximity to an artery near my heart. The entire experience changed my outlook on ALL spiders. I see them, they're history!

Published: May 16

I was bitten on the back of my upper arm about 2-3 inches above the elbow. It burned fiercely and I thought I had been bitten by a fire ant. I never saw it. I was out in my yard in Florida hanging clothes to dry. I began swelling into a red bump. I put antibiotic cream on it a lot but the bump kept growing bigger through the next day. Then it got a funny looking center and reached the size of 3 plus inches across with skin coming off of it forming a large crater. It was painful and scary looking so I went to the doctor on day 3. He recognized it immediately and prescribed ointment as well as pills. Layers of tissue came off the area for several weeks. After several months it healed up. It took about a year for the area to appear normal again.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 06

I was bitten on the bottom of my leg a month ago. The pain is constant and sharp. No necrosis as of yet, but from what I've been told I still have a long way to go.

Comment from: nanapam, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 04

I got bit on the knee. I was staying at the hospital with a granddaughter and got bit in the hospital! My knee swelled up three times its normal size. A doctor was seen within 8 hours and I was put on an antibiotic. It took three months and three rounds of antibiotics to go back to normal. I was sore for weeks after the bite. This has been very painful!

Comment from: GusMahler, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 27

This site somewhat pissed me off, because it said that if you thought you were bitten by a brown recluse to get medical attention THAT DAY. Well, although my symptoms didn't fit 100%, I decided that it would be better to be safe than sorry and went on to the ER. Turns out, there's nothing there that they can do for a recluse bite...there is no antidote to the venom. So why did they tell me to go?!? Now, I've wasted $100 I didn't have on the ER visit co-pay!!

Comment from: Male Published: April 19

I am from Arkansas, right in the epicenter of Brown Recluse habitat and have grown up with several close calls to being bitten by them. I have numerous pictures I could submit of spiders I captured while living in the Arkansas River Valley region. Under Arkansas law, only cockroaches are required to be exterminated from a renter's premises, and this should be modified in areas with high infestations of this species in my opinion. Recently, a classmate recently suffered a bite from this spider in the Twin Cities, apparently having been carried by someone's luggage. The hospital where I now reside in Iowa had no experience with this species and erroneously instructed the victim to use heat in treatment, which spread the venom significantly and causing severe necrosis, causing the victim to become hospitalized for several days with an open wound to drain away the toxins. I would want for all American hospitals to be keenly aware of the possibility of brown recluse travel and if instructing, to give the correct information. Their faulty advice has effectively ruined what confidence I had in their services.

Comment from: kjpitcher, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 06

I was 70 when I was bitten by a brown recluse spider about 4 inches above my left ankle. I had been bitten when I was 16 by a black widow and thought it was the same thing but I immediately started soaking the site in hot Epsom salts twice daily. After a month it was about 1inch wide and about 3 cm deep with a white gel over the top. I finally went to the doctor who cleaned off the gel and put a salve on. I continued the twice daily soaks for 4 months, and I now have a brown scar but no hole. I am glad I don't have anything more than that when I see what it could have looked like... even with medication!

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.

Comment from: lindalou246, 55-64 Female Published: June 14

I live in Minnesota where there are supposedly "no brown recluse spiders". I have had a necrotic skin lesion, about the size of a quarter, on my thigh for about 2 months. I have seen multiple doctors, had many wound cultures, blood tests, etc, and no one has been able to come up with a diagnosis that makes sense, so a couple of my doctors have finally determined that it has to be a BRS bite.(for which there seems to be no proven treatment. I have been on 3 rounds of antibiotics, which may have prevented a secondary bacterial infection. I have been a nurse in an urgent care clinic, and have to see I have never before seen an insect bite like this. These spiders have incredibly destructive venom. I assume I came in contact with this bug while laying wood chips that were shipped to my area from down south. I have been told, that eventually my wound will heal, but that it will take a very long time, and will leave a nasty scar. In the meantime, my doctor is watching the wound closely, and does periodic blood tests to make sure that this does not become a systemic infection. Good luck to all!! (By the way, the pain from this type of bite is very severe!!)

Comment from: Starwolf, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 18

I was bitten at an unknown time. I never felt a thing. I woke the next AM with a 1 cm. swelling on my back between my shoulders. Not much pain, about 2 on a scale of 10. I went to the ER mid-morning with more swelling and redness. I was diagnosed with an infected blackhead. They tried to drain it with no success but with an increase in pain 5 out of 10. Before I left, I looked at the area. I had a black spot in the middle of the red swelling which was now 5 cm, red, raised and tender. I checked it again that afternoon and it was now over 10 cm. and the black area was the size of a quarter. The next morning, it was the size, shape and color of half a large apple with a center black area 4cm. It was treated topically with drawing agents and triple antibiotic agents for a week without much change. I had a Lyme disease titer done and it was double positive! I had been tested shortly before and it was negative. After that, I developed a rash that covered my entire back from my hairline to waist while waiting for the test results. I took doxycycline and immediately got rid of the rash and began to heal. Two months later, the sore had closed, leaving me with a large scar. The tick infection was coincidental to the spider bite.

Comment from: sjgrindley, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 27

I was bitten by a brown recluse spider. The bite felt like a little bee sting. It wasn't that painful. After three hours, though my arm was swollen and red. I went to the emergency room and they sent me home telling me it was a mosquito bite and to put ice on it. Eight hours later, my arm was in excruciating pain and it was terribly swollen. I went to a different emergency room and they told me the same thing and to put ice on it. I could not understand why the doctors kept making me feel stupid when I knew something was very wrong. The next say, my arm was paralyzed, so I went to yet another emergency room, where they did x-rays and gave me pain medicine and antibiotics. It worked for a little while and they sent me home. The next day was Monday, and I was able to go see my family doctor who immediately admitted me to the hospital. I am alive and well and able to use my arm because of my family doctor. I ended up at the hospital, where they kept me for four days and the doctor had to remove a piece of my arm. The spider bite was very painful and I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy.

Comment from: vikkie, 0-2 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 22

I read a lot of article on the brown recluse spider, and not one said that they are found in my area. I live in western Pennsylvania and seven years ago, my daughter, then only a year old, was bitten and almost lost her foot. My brother also was bitten on two occasions and had to have plastic surgery to cover the area where he was bitten. I was told that the spider hides in mulch and comes out when the mulch is laid down. I took three trips to the emergency room and saw three different doctors before finding out what was wrong with my child.

Comment from: Tokyo Cowboy, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 09

I never saw or even felt the initial spider bite on the inside of my wrist. That night I thought it was just a mosquito bite. The next day it started to itch, so I applied cortisone. The next day it started to hurt somewhat, so I took some aspirin. The next morning my whole arm was swollen twice its usual size, and I had red streaks up to my elbow. I then went to the hospital where they did a blood test and determined that I was bitten by a brown recluse. They gave me medications, which helped with the swelling. The bite area became necrotic, about 1/4 inch diameter and about an inch deep. You could see the nerve tissues and bone. I treated the wound twice a day, and wrapped it with conform gauze. After 15 years I still have the scar. The doctor told me that there was a chance I could lose my hand, or have permanent nerve damage. The company I worked for at the time said that I was not covered since I did not report the injury within 24 hours. My lawyer said he would get me 2.1 million dollars if I lost my hand. Luckily it healed up okay after a couple of weeks with no loss of function.

Published: April 09

A brown recluse spider bite definitely hurts. The first day it was not that bad, but the next day it started to sting and burn. The burning feels like a sunburn under the skin but intense. Then I would get sometimes shocks of pain every once in a while in the area. The bite looked like a bull's eye or a target -- dark center and then a red rash type ring around it. There was also itching involved. The doctor gave me a corticosteriod cream to help the tissue and ice eased the burning and pain.

Comment from: todd, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 26

Really horrible. Nearly lost my foot. Battled infection and was sent on a two year downward spiral of worsening health. Financial ruin didn't make it any easier. Glad to be alive after that experience. My advice, get treatment fast. This would be easier of course were you to have felt the bite right away.

Comment from: cyndy, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 02

I got bit by a brown recluse on my left cheek of my face. It must have happened while I was sleeping, because I never saw it. I thought it was a zit, because it hurt under the skin so I assumed it just hadn't come to a head yet. I squeezed and poked, but that didn't do any good. Right now my face is swollen about 3x the normal size it should be and I'm having constant muscle pains and fatigue, and I threw up right after eating. I'm not sure if I should go to a doctor because I have no insurance mainly, and because I still have a prescription antibiotic for spider bites from March 10.

Comment from: Dee Dee, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 27

Over 20 years ago, I was bitten on my butt by a brown recluse spider. I didn't know at first what had bitten me, but symptoms included nausea, weakness on the lower right hand side of my body, swollen lymph nodes, and the bite continued to get bigger. I was given antibiotics and an ointment for the actual bite. Every year it is as if I have been bitten in the exact same place and the nausea and bite actually appears. My lymph nodes are also swollen. The doctor in Florida told me that this would occur.

Comment from: oicu2, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

I know I have been bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider, 4 days ago I noticed a small little bite, but didn't hurt really, today it is the size of a fist, swollen and so sore it makes me cry. Went to the ER and they told me that it wasn't an emergency and sent me home.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCE:

Vetter R.S. and Bush S.P.. 2002 reports of presumptive brown recluse spider spider bites reinforce improbable diagnosis in regions of North America where the spider is endemic. Clinical infectious Disease 35:442-445

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