Skip to comments.Spray Your Plants Before You Bring Them In (Brown Recluse Spider Bite)
Posted on 01/14/2005 11:25:21 PM PST by Dallas59
My roomate brought in the plants and trees from our patios last Tuesday. That night his leg started to itch. By Thursday it was swollen. This was tonight. He's gone to the doctor but all the doc can do is give him antibiotics. Spray your plants before you bring them in. I emptied a can of Raid on all of them last night.
Background: 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.
Of the 13 species of Loxosceles in the United States, at least 5 have been associated with necrotic arachnidism. Loxosceles reclusus, or the brown recluse spider, is the spider most commonly responsible for this injury.
Dermonecrotic arachnidism refers to the local skin and tissue injury noted with this envenomation. Loxoscelism is the term used to describe the systemic clinical syndrome caused by envenomation from the brown spiders.
Pathophysiology: Brown recluse spider bites can cause significant cutaneous injury with tissue loss and necrosis. Less frequently, more severe reactions develop, including systemic hemolysis, coagulopathy, renal failure, and, rarely, death.
Brown recluse venom, like many of the other brown spider venoms, is cytotoxic and hemolytic. It contains at least 8 components, including enzymes such as hyaluronidase, deoxyribonuclease, ribonuclease, alkaline phosphatase, and lipase. Sphingomyelinase D is thought to be the protein component responsible for most of the tissue destruction and hemolysis caused by brown recluse spider envenomation.
The intense inflammatory response mediated by arachidonic acid, prostaglandins, and chemotactic infiltration of neutrophils is amplified further by an intrinsic vascular cascade involving the mediator C-reactive protein and complement activation. These and other factors contribute to the local and systemic reactions of necrotic arachnidism.
Although numerous cases of cutaneous and viscerocutaneous reactions have been attributed to spiders of the genus Loxosceles, confirming the identity of the envenomating arachnid is difficult and rarely accomplished.
In the US: Although various species of Loxosceles are found throughout the world, the L reclusus is found in the United States from the east to the west coast, with predominance in the south. Recently, reports of persons with "spider bites" presenting to emergency departments have reached near urban legend proportions, prompting many physicians to question the diagnosis of a brown recluse bite in nonendemic areas.
The list of conditions that can present in a similar fashion to that of a brown recluse spider envenomation is extensive. A more likely explanation for this epidemic of spider bites is in fact community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin infections.
Data regarding mortality rates are not reliable because diagnostic tests to detect brown recluse venom in tissue are not readily available. Although deaths have been attributed to presumed brown recluse envenomation, severe outcomes are rare.
Typical cases involve only local soft tissue destruction. In South America, the more potent venom of the species Loxosceles laeta is responsible for several deaths each year.
The brown recluse, living up to its name, is naturally nonaggressive toward humans and prefers to live in undisturbed attics, woodpiles, and storage sheds. Brown recluses vary in size, and can be up to 2-3 cm in total length. They are most active at night from spring to fall.
Characteristic violin-shaped markings on their backs have led brown recluses to also be known as fiddleback spiders. Envenomation from the brown recluse elicits minimal initial sensation and frequently goes unnoticed until several hours later when the pain intensifies. An initial stinging sensation is replaced over 6-8 hours by severe pain and pruritus as local vasospasm causes the tissue to become ischemic.
Symptoms of systemic loxoscelism are not related to the extent of local tissue reaction and include the following:
Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
Edema around the ischemic bite site produces the appearance of an erythematous halo around the lesion. The erythematous margin around the site continues to enlarge peripherally, secondary to gravitational spread of the venom into the tissues.
Typically, at 24-72 hours, a single clear or hemorrhagic vesicle develops at the site, which later forms a dark eschar (see Picture 1).
Necrosis is more significant in the fatty areas of the buttocks, thighs, and abdominal wall. Causes: Dermonecrotic arachnidism has been described in association with several species of Loxosceles spiders, but, in the United States, L reclusus venom is the most potent and the most commonly involved.
Thanks for the post. I live in Caleeforniea (Schwartzenegger) and my gal was bit by a spider. So I checked and checked and found out we did not have them ol' brown nasty spiders.
But, it is good to know they are nasty and prevalent!
So, again, thanks for the post!
I just moved to the north after being in Dallas 10 years. I never EVER killed a spider in the house before I identified it! Used to get out my magnifying glass which I kept right in the kitchen drawer. Totally paranoid. Had a friend who had them in her house and couldn't get rid of them. Our local jail had to evacuate for MONTHS because of BR's and still couldn't be rid of them.
I feel for your room-mate.
My exterminator told me they are hard to identify. THeir markings aren't pronounced and they are usually so small it's hard to tell.
Put a "For Sale" sign out tomorrow!
That is true. I killed a large brown spider in Dec in the back of my gal's pickup bed. I checked all the spiderology and could not locate a comparison.
My thinking is this, if it has legs, is tiny and is uninvited, kill it!
Sanitize everything around the damn thing!
We do to. They don't come around here no more.
I hope your friend has a good doctor. If he has any doubts get him to a university hospital, where they will probably have more experience with those bites. It can move very fast so really keep an eye on it. I'll pray for him. He's going to need it.
You're welcome. :) I forgot to tell you that it's probably going to look a lot worse, so don't be too alarmed when you see it. That's just the way those bites are. First prayers have been sent. Keep us posted!
This was a great thread with lots of info from a few years back.
Yikes. Tell him we're praying and wishing him the best and to hang in there.
A few year ago, a black widow was discovered at my 20ac Penna garden center & nursery, on some stock shipped in from Oregon/California. We caught it and the babies, and put them in a jar of alcohol. Nothing since. Winter would have killed it anyway, unless it got into one of the buildings.
He never thought about it nor did I. You don't think of anything dangerous in your apartment.
What anti-biotic is your room mate on? There is an antibiotic which though it cures the bite problem,can cause almost as many problems as that bite. If you want to talk about this,please FREEPmail me.
south central US is the center of these innocent looking, but very nasty spiders, from Texas to Florida.
I've been bitten by both a Pygmy Rattlesnake and a Brown Recluse. If I had to do one over again, I'd chose the snake.
Because of their small size, the easiest way to identify them is by looking at their legs.
The Brown recluse's front and rear sets of legs are extraordinarily long when compared to the middle sets.
Just about every member of our household has had a brown recluse bite at one time or another, although thankfully no one had a reaction as severe as the one shown above.
Many years ago we built a house in Brazoria county Texas. The next year I looked behind one of the outside window shutters and found a Black Widow spider nest. I checked the rest of the shutters and found almost every one had a similar nest ready to hatch out babies. I killed them all and never saw another Black Widow the enitre 16 years we lived there. I always wondered did the spiders come with the building supplies?
Probably did. They're found from Mass to Florida, and west to Texas and OK, but more common in the southern states.
Hello. A friend of mine was bitten after a week he did seek medical attention, but he told me tonight it was spreading, can it spread to another area from the liquid which seeps out of the wound? i kinda find that hard to believe. Thanks..
ALWAYS PUSH YOUR DOCTOR TO PRESCRIBE A NITRO-GLYCERIN PATCH FOR SPIDER AND SCORPION BITES, especially BROWN RECLUSE bites. The dose is either .1 or .2 per hour, by patch. The research and studies and clinical experience show it is the only truly effective treatment for a brown recluse bite that has formed a blister or ulcer. It is not well known yet, but it works!!! If you suspect a brown recluse, you should treat with a nitro glycerin patch before an ulcer or blister even forms. It works by counteracting the blood-vessel-constricting effects of the spider's poison, allowing blood to circulate to the area and tissue death (necrotization) to stop, and allowing healing to occur rapidly. The only type of bite that will be hurt by a nitro patch is a snake bite. It is a relatively new treatment, using nitro patches for this has only been known of since 1994, and still isn't included in the regular packaging or literature for nitro glycerin. So if your doctor or emergency room staff don't want to believe you, look up this website, print it out, and take it with you. Be sure to look up the part of the webpage where the doctor goes into specific medical detail on the exact dosage and what companion treatments to use. Also, if the wound is starting to heal but is taking too long, or if you can't afford the nitro patches, UMF Active Manuka Honey is also highly recommended for wound treatment for ulcerated wounds. But for brown recluse bites, nothing beats a nitro patch. (NOT pills, it has to be a nitro glycerin patch stuck on top of the bite) Even for old brown recluse bites, it helps restore circulation and improve healing.
Here is a link to the webpage of the doctor who first thought of it: http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Forest/2021/recluse/intro.html
Here is an excerpt from it:
BY DR. KENNETH BURTON
The devastation caused by the bite of the Brown Recluse spider can be stopped in its tracks and reversed, even at advanced stages of its degenerative effects.
The Recluse bite can cause a prolonged and expensive trail of suffering and disability to its victims. The frequency of bites to humans has increased at an alarming rate, as the spider moves indoors and into our garments, shoes and bedding. Treatment cost now run into the millions of dollars per year and are rising rapidly as incidences increase.While some spiders inject little venom, others may be expected to create serious management problems with resultant extensive tissue loss, pain. disability and chronic deterioration.
The etiology is the powerful, vasoconstricting properties of the venom, as the mechanism of necrotic arachnidism, which causes the smail arteries to spasm with resultant loss of blood supply to the bite area. This sets up a cycle of ulceration and tissue loss through ischemia and gangrene. Systemic medication alone is unable to penetrate the lesion because of the barrier zone produced by the spastic occlusion of the arteries.
However...a nitroglycerin patch can penetrate through the skin, into the interstitial fluid and into the capillaries, rapidly dilating the vessels. This is evidenced by the quick onset of a nitroglycerin headache as circulation into the occluded area is re-established from the edges inward. The pathologic process ceases and healing begins. When a nitro patch is administered early, as in the first 48 hours, no lesion ever develops! Delay treatment three to four weeks and a 5 cm ulcer will develop, requiring three months of treatment with the nitroglycerin patches. Even with delayed treatment, however, the degenerative process is reversed. The body heals itself. There is no need for surgery with its debilitating effects, potential complications and severe scarring.
The patch is cut to cover only the effected area, right up to and extending just over the edge of involvement. In the case of a youngchild, the patch should be cut down to cover the smallest area possible, with more frequent removal and reapplication necessary. Pictures of the recluse bites treated with these patches provide examples of some responses.
With few exceptions, regardless of the site of the bite or the age and health of the patient, the patch has stopped the progress of the tissue loss, thus allowing the area to begin recovery, usually without scarring and with only slightly darker pigmentation.
My roommate just got bit a few days ago. What should she be doing? The doctor gave her some antibiotics and that was it. It is on the front of her calf and her calf looks just like some of these pictures. Will she be able to regain full use of those muscles?
(Your bite was nasty - way worse than the 2 I suffered from a few years ago.)