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Brown Recluse Bite Stages

Stay Warned About the Brown Recluse Bite Stages

When a brown recluse spider bites you, you may not feel it. However, 2-8 hours later, you may start experiencing abnormal symptoms. Here we discuss the brown recluse bite stages, and the symptoms that occur.
Aastha Dogra
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
The brown recluse venom is more potent than that of a rattlesnake. Fortunately, the insect generally injects small quantities of venom in its victims.
A brown recluse is a kind of spider that is generally between one-fourth to three-fourth of an inch in length. Its color can be brown, deep yellow or gray. Although the venom of the brown recluse contains cytotoxins and hemolytic compounds, its bite does not cause much pain initially but a kind of stinging sensation at the bitten site. Ergo, most of the time the bite goes unnoticed.
Progress of A Brown Recluse Bite
Stage 1
As mentioned above, initially there is no pain, only a stinging sensation is felt. But after around six hours or so, the enzymes present in the venom, such as Sphingomyelinase D, start damaging the tissues, triggering immune responses in the body to separate the venom. When the person reaches such a stage, he experiences intense pain, accompanied by itching. Some other symptoms that may be experienced at this stage are blistering, inflammation and even formation of pustules in some cases.
Stage 2
The brown recluse bite progression, from this stage, involves destruction of the red blood cells. This stops the supply of oxygen to the area of the skin where the bite has taken place. When there is not enough oxygen supply to the skin, the skin turns gray in color. A small, red-colored spot occurs in the middle of this gray skin area, which is caused by the bite, accompanied by a light red color halo, around the skin area.
Stage 3
If the venom reaches the bloodstream of the person, through a capillary, it might start affecting the whole body. Such a condition is known as systemic loxoscelism. This stage can be identified if the skin changes mentioned above are accompanied by nausea, fever, chills and dizziness. Another symptom at this stage, is the presence of a rash with small red-colored dots, on the areas of the body which were not even bitten. This condition is known as morbilliform rash, and it means that the venom from the bite is now circulating in the entire bloodstream.
If the venom enters the bloodstream, it can lead to many fatal conditions such as seizures, coma or a kidney failure. Thus, it is always better to contact a doctor immediately, so that the treatment can be undertaken at the appropriate time.
Main Symptoms
As mentioned, the brown recluse spider is rarely aggressive unless it comes in contact with the human skin, or is trapped inside their clothes, towels, etc. In some cases, a small blister can occur at the bite site accompanied with pain and redness along with a stinging feeling. The affected area may become swollen too. Given below are the symptoms that a person may experience within hours after the bite.
  • Restlessness
  • Severe itching on the bitten area
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Pain and swelling in the affected area
Usually, cortisone type hormones are suggested by doctors as treatment. To reduce tissue damage associated with a brown recluse bite, oral Dapsone, an antibiotic is given. As a home treatment, till the person gets medical help, applying ice packs on the affected area is very effective, as it helps in minimizing the pain and swelling, caused by the bite. As a preventive measure, keep your beds and cribs clean, and at a safe distance from the wall. Check your clothes, shoes before putting them on. Be careful while cleaning closets or storage areas as these spiders may be hiding inside. If you suspect brown recluse infestation in your home or the surrounding areas, take necessary steps to eliminate them at the earliest.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.