Brown Recluse Bite Stages: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: July 19, 2023

Brown Recluse Bite Stages: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Check out this complete guide to Brown Recluse Bite. Let's learn about its stages, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

What Do You Mean by Brown Recluse?

Brown Recluse is not a name of some chemical, and it is a spider. These spiders are nocturnal creatures. Generally, they appear at night in search of their food. Do not be afraid, and their food is insects. Like most spiders, these are poisonous too. These spiders are present in the areas of the U.S. 16 states out here have Brown Recluse existing with them. You are in a greater chance of encountering this spider! But, this poison is in tiny quantities. So, the chance of death is not very certain. This does not mean that you can pet one! So, you need to be careful whenever you are a native of this place. 

The spider is pretty important in North America due to medicinal needs and research. The other two spiders as important as this one is the very popular Black widow and the Chilean recluse.

The poison of these spiders is as complicated as their name. Aren't you curious about what it contains? Let me tell you. Knowing its composition would give you an idea of how toxic it is. Diverse protein fractions make this poison so strong. Hyaluronidase, Protease, and Collagenase are the three notable enzymes. The names of these components themselves give us chills. 

Their effects are even direr. Once these enzymes get into your bloodstream and affect it, you may be at risk of certain conditions. Tissue necrosis is one of them. Now, what is tissue necrosis? It is a sort of destruction of cells in the body. This premature loss of cells is due to Autolysis or self-digestion. The poison may be in small quantities. But, leaving it untreated would result in complications.

How Does This Spider Look Like?

Now that we know what is a Brown Recluse, let us explore a bit more about it. We need to know what this spider looks like. Otherwise, it will be quite difficult for us to recognize and avoid it. These spiders come in a range of dark colors. They might have a grey or deep brownish body. These spiders' dark and dull colors make them pretty difficult to be detected. It may be inside your black school shoe, and you might not even realize it until bitten. So, alert your six senses before you get into some serious issue.

But, there is a perk. These spiders are fancy creatures. They have got a violin-like tattoo on the top of their head or Cephalothorax. This is the part from where its eight legs emerge from. This mark on the head is darker than the other parts. So, whenever you observe a spider, look out for this interesting shape.

Another interesting thing about the physical features of this spider is its eyes. The eyes of this spider are unique. It has got six eyes! Now, is it not that intriguing? Usually, a spider is provided with eight eyes. But, this one is uniquely designed. One of the two pairs is in the mid-portion of its head. The other two are on each side of the head. However, the eyes are not large, round, and lustrous. These are pretty small eyes. So, it would be difficult to observe them well without the assistance of a microscope. The Australian Jumping spiders have great eyes. This makes them good hunters too. 

They can view images very clearly. But, the Brown Recluse spiders are not blessed with such a perk. Their eyes are small, and they cannot view images very clearly. This makes them bad hunters. These spiders prefer to flee instead of fighting. They also prefer dark and dry places to live in. Cardboard is its best habitat because it smells similar to tree bark. Tree barks are the places that they inhabit the most. But, they also coexist with humans and rely on cardboards. So, check your cardboards carefully before taking them out of your closet for use.

Let us get into some biological facts. These spiders are not blessed with the quality of regenerating their appendages. They do not possess such immunity as the Huntsman spider. So, this particular spider I am talking about does not seem as harmful as its name. 

It is a shy arachnid that is feared for its name. But, do not be too brave. Even though these are not harmful, they might feel attacked when touched. This description of the spider will help you to keep away from it. 

Brown Recluse Bite: Some Worth Noting Symptoms

The symptoms caused by this spider bite are not very uncommon. It is just like any other poisonous spider bite. But, the bite of this specific spider is a bit more problematic. The poison is as strong as a Rattlesnake. But, as it is generated in a small sum, it can be treated well.

  • First of all, if a Brown Recluse bites you, you will not feel the slightest pain in the beginning. Even if you feel pain, it will not be more than a bee sting. But, after a few hours, the pain seems unbearable. Several reactions accompany this pain. These reactions can range from mild to serious scales. 
  • Generally, the area of the bite feels very itchy and burns unbearably. This is due to the extreme acidic effect of the poison. Now, this area is ought to form a white ulcer. Here, your skin cells are damaged, and the wound remains in an open state. It is required to treat the wound as early as possible to prevent the entry of germs. This might cause much more fatal effects. 
  • After 12 hours, you may observe the ultimate effects of the bite. Their unnoticeable fangs are cause a noticeable effect after a few hours. You may notice the bitten area to have minuscule dot-like holes. This is the area where the spider has injected its venom into you.
  • A discoloration is likely to take place after the bite. The affected area may look like a bluish spot girdled with a white-colored ring. This also has a red portion. In rare cases, the ulcer might get larger and cause ill effects on health. 
  • The website of e medicine health informs that kids under the age of 8 are most vulnerable to these bites. Deaths have also occurred due to this in children. But, it is rare as the spiders are not defensive.
  • Some effects of the bite include nausea, chills, sweat, and fever. These are the side effects of extreme pain that are caused by the bite. The two strong toxins that the spider's venom contains are Sphingomyelinase D and Hyaluronidase. These two areas are as complicated as their names.
  • These toxins can destroy skin cells and tissues. This is the reason for several skin problems associated with the Brown Recluse attack. Loxoscelism is one of these conditions that emerge after a day of getting bitten. This is the issue when tissues around the affected spot are destroyed. This leads to open sore creation. This is a sort of necrosis that the Brown Recluse causes. This is also termed a Necrotic lesion. Here, the bitten spot seems like a blister with a dead patch of skin around it. 

Some Burning Stages Associated with The Bite

Stage 1

Stage 1 is associated with the initial biting phase. This phase is painless. You may not even realize that a Brown recluse has bitten you. Initially, the holes from the bite will also not be visible. 

Stage 2

After a few hours. 2 to 7 hours precisely. At this time, you will notice an inflamed spot around the bitten area. This spot is red and tender. It will also suffer discoloration. A white ring will surround the bluish spot of the affected area. This symptom is worth noting. This is the period that causes the ultimate discomfort. To reduce the sensation of pain, one might contact the doctors for medications. Neomycin-based antibiotics serve to be helpful in this case.

A burning pain will accompany you during this time. The pain reaches its climax after 24 hours. 

Stage 3

Brown recluse venom is not injurious to everyone. When injected in small about after a bite, the irritation vanishes in days. If the venom remains at the bitten spot, it does not prove harmful.

However, if the venom expands to other parts of the body, it becomes worth a serious treatment. If you experience the previous two stages of poison spread, it must be noticed. 

Necrotic lesion or premature destruction of cells is evident during this phase. The skin tissues begin to fade away due to the growth of an open tumor. This is caused by the bite of the spider.

Stage 4

Mild bites usually get cured in 3 weeks. But, the serious ones, take time and medications. If the wound remains untreated, it will worsen. The area of the infection begins to form necrotic cells known as eschar. The formation of eschar will affect the color of the skin adversely. It will look like a brown or black sheet of skin surrounding the affected spot. 

Stage 5

This is the time when you are great at the risk of your life. If the bite does not heal in 3 months, that is a sign of complication. This is the case when necrosis extends deeper than the skin. It affects the internal constitution of the cells. 

If the wound is irresponsive to the medication, a diagnosis is required. This is the diagnosis where your specialized doctor will help detect the conditions that could be responsible for causing the complications. If some other complications are hindering the healing process, the doctor will do it for you! Differential diagnosis is pretty helpful in such cases.

Some Serious Reactions Caused: Brown Recluse Highlights

There are some serious after-effects that the bite of a Brown Recluse cause. One thing to keep in mind is not to further irritate the area. It will only aggravate the complications. People with immunodeficiency disorders are at a higher risk of suffering from these serious after-effects. The immune systems of these people are so weak that their body is unable to fight against viruses. Genetic disorders, and malnutrition are the causes of unstable immunity. So, better watch out for your health! These disorders can be treated using certain drugs. But, do take the advice of your doctor. Interferon helps treat disorders related to immunodeficiency. So, let us get into some serious reactions that the bite causes. These reactions are not common ones. The common after-effects include:

  • A dizzy sensation
  • The appearance of rashes on different parts of the skin
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Chilly feel

These may be taken as an early symptom of anaphylactic shock. If anyone around you is suffering from these symptoms continually, provide them with medical care. If medical assistance is not given on time anaphylaxis will prove to be life-threatening. 

Now, let us view some serious effects of this blow:

Names Of The Critical Effects
What Is It?
  • This is a condition that can be best described as inflamed blood vessels. This inflammation decreases the width of the blood vessel passage. Now, if the blood flow gets restricted, it may lead to cell damage. 
  • Vasculitis may decrease the blood flow to some vital organs like the eyes or brain. This would lead to their dysfunction. Sometimes, this condition decreases blood flow to multiple organs simultaneously. This leads to multi-organ failure. 
  • This is caused due to Brown Recluse bite. If the bite remains untreated for a long time, it would lead to cell damage in depths. This would ultimately lead to Vasculitis.
Coagulative necrosis
  • The condition means the death of cells. Brown Recluse injects its venom known as Loxoscles Reclusa into the bloodstream. This venom is the cause of Coagulative necrosis. 
  • This is a loss of helpful cells in the body that assist in supplying oxygen to various organs. The death of these cells might lead to ischemia. This condition in turn would decrease the blood flow into the organs. This restricted flow of blood causes Coagulative necrosis.
  • So, treating Brown Recluse bite is a necessary initiative one should take to avoid these serious after-effects.

Some Treatments for Brown Recluse

There are several antivenom medications that one can rely on. However, resting and using ice under a doctor's supervision are some simple steps one can use to decrease the pain. But, some worth-noting initiatives one could take are to be taken into account. So, why wait? Let us get into the healing process.

  • Colchicine: This is a sort of oral tablet. You can find this in any drugstore with the commercial name Colcrys. This is even available in capsules and has the brand name Mitigare. So, use it according to your preference and the advice of the doctor.  This is a popular medicine to treat complications associated with Gout. Gout is caused due to uric acid formation that affects the joints intensely. This medication is anti-inflammatory and is greatly beneficial in the treatment of Brown Recluse bites. The medication reduces the inflammation and gives relief to the spot. But, consultation with the doctor is required to know the actual dosage of the drug. If the drug is not taken in prescribed amounts, it may increase complications. 
  • Dapsone: The bite of Brown Recluse leads to several skin complications. Dermatitis Herpetiformis is one of these skin problems. We do not want that. So, the usage of this drug in proper dosage will help us immensely. It is to be noted that this drug is not provided without the doctor's advice. This drug treats inflammation very effectively. Generally, if the drug is taken 2 times a week or every day, it will lead to a fruitful outcome.
  • Nitroglycerin: This is yet another recommendable medication. You will find this drug with the commercial name Nitrostat. The bite of Brown Recluse leads to several problems. One of these problems is the destruction of cells.

 As mentioned previously, this condition is called necrosis. This condition leads to restriction of blood flow to important organs. When the blood supply decreases to vital organs, pain accompanies. This drug assists in reducing this pain. This medication is usually used as a heart medicine. A Brown Recluse bite will lead to Decreased blood flow to the heart. 

This, in turn, leads to pain in the chest, known as Angina. This medicine is helpful to treat this. So, don't delay getting these medications if you are suffering from the after-effects of the Brown Recluse bite. But, this intake should take place only after a doctor's recommendation. 

 A Webby Close Up

Now that we know what a Brown Recluse is, there will be no trouble in recognizing, avoiding, and treating its bite. It should be kept in mind that the spider is not a defensive one. If you do not bother it, it will cause you no harm. One must keep away from the places that the spiders are known to live in. Precautions should be taken:

  • Storing wood and cardboard in the house should be avoided. These would increase the breeding chances of these spiders that are attracted to the damp smell of wood and cardboard. 
  • Use gloves! You should never forget this advice. Gloves should be worn while handling wood stacks. This is essential if you live in the areas where the Brown Recluse is frequently found.
  • And yes, check your shoes and clothes. These spiders are not harmful but are quite sly. They would remain inside these dry spaces without notice. In case you put your foot in it. It will bite you out of nowhere to protect itself. So, beware!

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ's)

How is Prednisone useful for Brown Recluse spider bite?

This medicine is prescribed by doctors. If one takes this medication every day in the required dosage, it is ought to work. A recommended dosage is 40 mg of the medicine. However, its reaction to Red Recluse spiders is not very clear. Further research is required to confirm its usage in this case. However, one should follow the recommendations of this medicine dosage from a trusted doctor.

Is it possible to take the poison out of a Brown Recluse spider bite?

One might rely on alcohol or Peroxide to draw Brown Recluse poison out of their skin. This would be beneficial to stop the extension of the poison into different parts of the body. One might also mix bleach and baking soda with water and apply it to the affected area of the spider bite. These materials should be mixed in equal amounts. Otherwise, it won't cause the needed effect.

What can be bursting a Brown Recluse bite lead to?

The blisters caused by these bites are filled with fluid. One is always tempted to pop them to reduce the visual irritation it causes. But, you should avoid doing so. If you open the blister, it would act as a passageway to life-risking infections. This is medically proven by the site of the New Haven Register.

Is it possible for the Brown Recluse spider bite to get healed without any medication?

Yes, it is possible to heal a Brown Recluse poison bite without medication. But, this is only applicable if the spider bite is not very serious. The condition becomes serious if poison is injected in greater quantities. 

In serious cases, one should rely on visiting a doctor and talking about the symptoms that the bite caused. It would help in an effective diagnosis of the bite. One might also depend on certain medications to reduce the sensation of pain the bite causes. One of the most recommended medicine is Colchicine.




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