In Brazil, most spiders you find are harmless, but the brown spider is an exception. This nocturnal species lives in seclusion and likes to hide in dark places where it won't be easily disturbed, such as under porches, in closets or in piles of wood. It is important to identify a brown spider and its venomous bite, which can cause more severe symptoms than other species. The person can even die from the bite of a brown spider. Deaths from brown spider bites are more common among children than among adults.
Part 1 of 2: Identifying a brown spider bite
Step 1. If possible, find the spider that bit you
Try to trap it to find out if it's a brown spider. You can also try to remember what she looks like. The brown spider is all that color, with its legs attached to the upper part of the body.
- This species is known as the "violin spider" in Portugal because of the unique violin-shaped spot on the back of the cephalothorax. The abdomen has no stains.
- The brown spider has three pairs of eyes along the patch instead of two rows of four eyes like many other species.
Step 2. Recognize the symptoms of a brown spider bite
When you get stung for the first time, you may not feel anything. Hours later, you may experience a slight burning or irritation in or around the wound, in addition to the following symptoms:
- Lots of swelling and pain at the bite site;
- A blue bubble in the center and surrounded by redness, like a target, can form. The blister can then burst, and the site will grow into an ulcer that will extend into deeper parts of the tissue;
- A pimple-like lesion with yellow or green pus;
- An urticaria around the sting site, with itching;
- Your urine may turn dark;
- You may also experience fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, epileptic fits, or joint pain.
- Like other spider bites, the brown spider will leave a small red mark. Unlike other stings, a small white blister will appear soon after, and the tissue around the wound will become stiff. The sting will then transform into a blue-gray or whitish-blue lesion, with jagged edges and surrounded by redness. If left untreated, the skin around the lesion can become gangrenous and become a large open wound.
Step 3. Understand where these spiders are often found
This species likes dark, covered places, such as under porches, in wood piles, basements, cupboards, and under sinks. Think about whether you were in any of these places when you were bitten.
Although the brown spider can be found throughout Brazil, it is common in the southern region, mainly in Paraná. In the United States, it can also be found across the country, but it is more common in the Midwest and South
Part 2 of 2: Treating a Brown Spider Bite
Step 1. Try to go to the doctor on the same day that you are bitten
If possible, take the spider to the office, as its identification will help the practitioner diagnose you correctly.
You can continue with treatment at home after being bitten, but you should see a doctor or other professional in the field as soon as you can, as the bite can be serious or fatal
Step 2. Wash the area with soap and rinse with water
Dip a clean cloth in mild soap and water at room temperature, then wipe the sting area in a circular motion.
Step 3. Decrease swelling by placing a cold compress over the bite
Wrap ice in a clean towel or place it in a plastic bag, then wrap the bag in a washcloth.
- Put the compress on the wound for 10 minutes and then take it off for another ten minutes. Repeat the process at 10-minute intervals.
- If the person bitten has circulatory problems, reduce the time the compress remains at the bite site.
Step 4. Elevate the area
Thus, the transmission of the poison from that location to the rest of the body will be slower, and the swelling in the region will decrease.
Apply a compressive dressing over the bite to reduce pain and swelling. Raise the pricked arm, hand, leg, or foot above the heart by placing it on a pillow. The dressing must be snug, but without cutting off circulation
Step 5. Do not apply heat to the location
It will only accelerate tissue destruction around the bite and increase swelling and pain. Never try to remove the spider's venom with a suction device or cut the affected tissue.
Avoid applying any steroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, to the pricked site
Step 6. Take over-the-counter pain relievers
Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen or naproxen will help reduce swelling and pain.
You can also take an antihistamine to relieve the itchiness around the pricked spot
Step 7. Talk to your doctor about treatments for the bite
At the appointment or in the emergency room, confirm that the bite is a brown spider and let the doctor treat it. After the initial evaluation, the professional can prescribe the following treatments:
- A tetanus vaccine;
- Antibiotics, if there are symptoms of wound infection;
- Antihistamines like Benadryl to help with itching;
Step 8. Get back to the doctor in three or four days
Make an appointment with the professional to confirm that you do not have any infection or complications from the bite. It is important to monitor your recovery so that the injury does not worsen or become infected.