The brown recluse spider can be seen as an unassuming spider but possesses potent venom that can cause serious illness to humans. Children who often explore areas occupied by the brown recluse spider face the risk of a bite. A bite from a brown recluse spider can cause the skin and underlying flesh to die which forms a necrotic wound that can take up to weeks to heal and can leave behind evident scarring and even the risk of death among young children.
Close look on brown recluse spiders
The brown recluse spider can reach up to an inch in size with 8 lengthy legs and a characteristic violin-shaped marking on its back which is why it is also called “violin” or “fiddle-back” spider. The spider frequently hides in wait for prey in secluded and dark environments often around houses and yards. The spider is not considered aggressive but can bite if threatened. Most bites from this spider occur when it is unintentionally pressed against the skin.
What are the possible risks?
Children who play outdoors face the higher risk of being bitten than the adults. The number of deaths linked to the bite of brown recluse spiders is rare, but children face a higher risk of dying from a bite than adults. In most cases, the bite can result to a deep and necrotic wound that takes a longer time to fully heal.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The bite from a brown recluse spider can be difficult to pinpoint that the child might not notice it. The child will later on complain of a stinging sensation later followed by intense pain.
Within the initial 24 hours, the bite site changes from a tiny white blister to an elevated, ulcerated sore that is hard to the touch. In most cases, the appearance is dry with a blue-colored middle bordered by a white ring with asymmetrical reddened edges. As the damage grows, the wound will grow in size between 1-6 inches in width. The dead tissue in the long run sloughs away from the lesion which reveals the underlying tissue.
First aid care
If a child is suspected with a bite from a brown recluse spider, a doctor should be consulted right away. If possible, catch the spider and store in a secure container to be taken to the doctor.
Cleanse the bite site using water and soap. After cleaning, you have to utilize an antibacterial spray and ice pack over the bite site to minimize the pain and swelling. In case the bite site is on the leg or arm, it should be elevated and place a secure bandage above the bite site to limit the flow of blood.
At the present, there is no current antivenin for the victims of the brown recluse spider. In case the child is over 2 years old, he/she can be given a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain. Some doctors might decide to administer high doses of cortisone-like hormones to minimize the risk for systemic reactions.