We have gotten through Summer and are now coming into Fall. The weather is nicer and it makes all of us want to go out and explore more, take more bike rides, and spend more time playing in our yards. Everyone, including spiders. Spiders are most active during the end of Summer and throughout Fall. Although most spiders are harmless to humans, bites from spiders can be painful, irritating, and even cause harm if from a poisonous spider. Let’s learn a little more about the spiders in our area.
Types of Spiders
There are many types of spiders in our area but at the same time, not all spiders reside in all areas. In Oklahoma & Louisiana, there are 32 different types of spiders while in Texas, there are 88 types of spiders. There are fewer spiders in Arkansas with only 23 different types. Like all animals, spiders will bite you if they feel threatened. They have sharp little teeth and most spiders are able to penetrate through human skin. Even Daddy Long Legs can bite through human skin (and no, their venom is not deadly). In our part of the U.S., there are really two types of spiders you need to be concerned about. The black widow and the brown recluse.
Black Widow Spider
One of the most famous spiders in the United States is the black widow spider. The females of this species are probably the most recognizable with their all black bodies and red “hourglass” shape on the stomachs. The males of this species look similar but are smaller, with longer legs and have brown to orange markings at their joints. The males are also very reclusive. Most people have seen a female black widow but few have actually seen a male. All black widows are poisonous but the males and juveniles rarely if ever bite humans. Black widow spiders live all across America and are the most active during dawn and dusk. The biggest issue with black widow spiders is that they are aggressive and will attack if they feel threatened.
Brown Recluse Spider
The brown recluse spider, also known as the violin or fiddleback spider, is the other poisonous spider in our area. Although highly poisonous, these types of spiders are also non-aggressive and reclusive. In fact, it has been documented that these spiders can live in a house with humans while never attacking a human. Brown recluses are typically brown in color and about the size of a quarter with their legs extended. The males and females look very similar with the differences really only noticeable while closeup. These spiders like to live under rocks & debris as well as in attics and basements and they can withstand extreme temperature swings. One other interesting fact, they do not spin webs.
Bites from most spiders are highly unidentifiable unless you saw the spider that bit you. A bite from a spider will usually leave a welt and may cause itching. Here are some common signs of a spider bite.
Common Signs of Spider Bites
- A red to purple welt at the bite site
- Skin damage
- Pain around the bite area
In extreme cases of spider bites, you may have additional symptoms.
Extreme Symptoms of Spider Bites
- Muscle pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Higher blood pressure
- Swollen lymph glands
If you are experiencing any of these extreme symptoms of a spider bite, go to an urgent care clinic, hospital, or call 911 immediately.
Spider bites generally take longer to heal than other insect bites and may affect skin tissue. If you have been bitten by a spider, you should consult a health care professional for treatment.
Black Widow Spider Bites
Now that we have covered what general spider bites look like and symptoms associated with them, let’s look at the bites from a black widow spider. The venom from a black widow attacks the nervous system. Here are some signs you have been bitten by a widow spider.
Signs of a Black Widow Bite
- Immediate severe pain
- Burning sensation at the site of the bite
- 2 fang marks
Black Widow Spider Symptoms
- Stiff & hurting muscles (generally within 8 hours of the bite)
- Abdominal Pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen eyelids
- Rash around bite area
- Extreme weakness
It is important to note that it is especially important if a child, elderly person, or a person with health challenges gets bitten by a black widow, you need to immediately seek health care and you may need to call 911. Some adults are able to fend off the venom but really should see a healthcare professional nonetheless.
Brown Recluse Bites
Bites from a brown recluse spider are a little different than a bite from a black widow. Mainly because the human body cannot fend off the venom that a brown recluse releases. If the bite is left untreated, this venom can destroy skin cells and that destruction will continue to spread across the body. This is called necrosis. Here are some signs that you have been bitten by a recluse spider
Brown Recluse Bite Symptoms
- A deep sore at the bite site and the middle of the bite is turning purple
- Redness around the bite site
- Weakness in the body
- Chills in the body
- Joint pain
- Seizures and/or Coma (in very rare instances)
If you suspect that you, your child, an elderly person, or a person with medical challenges have been bitten by a brown recluse spider, you need to seek medical help immediately. Call 911 if it is an emergency.
Spider Bite Treatment
Luckily for humans, most spider bites are about as annoying as a mosquito bite. Even bites from a brown recluse or a black widow are non-life-threatening, in most cases. Although a bite from a widow or a recluse is mostly non-life-threatening, you absolutely should go see a medical professional to have it treated. Antibiotics will generally destroy the spider venom and repair any damage. Since spider bites are generally non-fatal, you can be treated at most urgent care clinics including at all locations of HeatlhCARE Express.