Spider Bites (Black Widow and Brown Recluse) (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Are spider bites dangerous?
- What are the symptoms of spider bites?
- Black widow spider bite symptoms (picture of black widow)
- Brown recluse spider bite symptoms (picture of brown recluse spider)
- What should you do if you are bitten by a spider?
- What should you do if you are bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider?
- Spider Bites At A Glance
- Black Widow vs. Brown Recluse Slideshow Pictures
- Bad Bugs and Their Bites Slideshow Pictures
- Adult Skin Problems Slideshow Pictures
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Brown recluse spider bite symptoms
The bite of a brown recluse spider leads to a mild stinging, followed by local redness and severe pain that usually develops within eight hours but may occur later. Some reports of brown recluse bites describe a blue or purple area around the bite, surrounded by a whitish ring and large red outer ring in a "bull's eye" pattern. A fluid-filled blister forms at the site and then sloughs off to reveal a deep ulcer that may turn black.
Picture of a brown recluse spider. Note the violin pattern on the
cephalothorax and light-colored hairless abdomen.
Picture of a brown recluse spider
Picture of a brown recluse spider head close-up
Generalized symptoms of bites from black widow and brown recluse spiders may include:
- vomiting ,
- abdominal pain,
- joint pain or stiffness,
- overall feelings of malaise,
- rash, and
- muscle cramping or tension.
While black widow spider bites are hardly ever fatal, rare deaths have occurred from brown recluse spider bites and are more common in children than in adults.
If a spider was not observed inflicting the bite, it is difficult if not impossible to determine whether a spider bite occurred, since many conditions of the skin may produce the same symptoms as a spider bite. Streptococcal and Staphylococcal infections, early lesions of herpes simplex or zoster, burns, stings or bites from other arthropods or insects (including fleas, bedbugs, mosquitos, biting flies, ants, and ticks), thorn injury, and early Lyme disease all may be characterized by skin findings similar to those from a spider bite. Researchers have found that up to 80% of reported spider bites could have reasonably been due to other causes.
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