Spider Bites - Type of Spider and Reaction

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Are spider bites dangerous?

Most spiders do not have mouth parts strong enough to penetrate human skin, and the majority of spiders found in the U.S. and are actually harmless. There are two notable exceptions, the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider, which are both dangerous to humans. Spider bites are fortunately uncommon. In many cases, presumed spider bites are actually due to another skin condition or an insect sting.

The black widow and brown recluse spiders are more common in the southern states of the U.S. They prefer warm, dry climates and undisturbed areas such as basements, closets, woodpiles, attics, or under sinks. The black widow spider is a small, black, shiny spider with a red hourglass marking on its belly. The brown recluse spider is sometimes termed a "violin spider." It is about an inch long and has a marking resembling a violin on the upper part of its back. Bites from both the black widow and brown recluse spiders are dangerous to humans and require prompt emergency medical care.

Return to Spider Bites (Including Black Widow and Brown Recluse)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Tyerlilly, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 04

I was bitten by a spider, probably a brown recluse (I've had one bite me before) and treated it with drawing salve and antibiotic cream. The bite does not look infected but it's a week later and I am suddenly running 100 degrees F fever. I'm not sure it's related or if I caught the flu. I can't find any information as to how quickly a systemic reaction occurs.

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Comment from: elcardee, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 22

Eight years ago, I was bitten in the flexion area of my left foot by a non-venomous spider of unknown species. I got hemolytic beta strep infection (lymphangitis), for which I received a round of IV antibiotics in the emergency room and a 3 week course of Keflex. The foot stayed swollen for almost the entire three weeks of the antibiotic regimen. In fact, the only thing that seemed to reduce the edema was a soak in a dilute Clorox solution. Despite no signs of ulceration or tattooing, I have had recurrences of foot swelling on a regular basis ever since. The edema is only in the affected foot, not in the other one. Seems to improve with elevating the limb, and after a night's sleep, but returns when I am standing. I am somewhat overweight, and I know that probably doesn't help the situation, but I repeat that the problem is only in the one foot. I wonder if anyone else has had this kind of circulatory problem. I assume it is more a lymphatic issue than a blood sequestration.

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